Reduce to participle clause

firee818

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi, could we reduce either the first clause or second clause of a sentence to participle clause?

1). My sister touched the pot. She did not realize that it was hot.
<Reduced> 1a). Touching the pot, she did not realize that it was hot.
<Reduced> 1b). My sister touched the pot, not realizing that it was hot.

2). We walked up and down the room. We tried to find a way to solve our problem.
<Reduced> 2a). Walking up and down the room, we tried to find a way to solve our problem.
<Reduced> 2b). We walked up and down the room, trying to find a way to solve our problem.

3). The driver lost control of his car. He hit a cyclist and smashed into a shop window.
<Reduced> 3a) Losing control of his car, he hit a cyclist and smashed into a shop window.
<Reduced> 3b) The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashed into a shop window.

Do the above sentences (a and b) have any differences in meaning between them?
By the way, are all the above sentences (a and b) written correctly (in term of grammar)?

Thank you.
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    1a) and perhaps 2a) strike me as problematic. 3a) is fine because he first loses control, and as a result hits a cyclist.

    All of the b) versions look fine.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    <Reduced> 3b) The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashed into a shop window. :cross:
    <Reduced> 3b) The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashing into a shop window. :tick:
    <Reduced> 3b) The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist, and smashed into a shop window. :tick:

     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Could you explain the reasons behind?
    Contrast the following:

    Touching the pot, she did not realize that it was hot.
    Touching the pot, she realized that it was hot.


    The second one would be fine; she touches the pot, and as a consequence she discovers that it is hot. But the cause-and-effect is wrong in the first version; her touching the pot doesn't lead to her not realizing that it's hot.
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Contrast the following:

    Touching the pot, she did not realize that it was hot.
    Touching the pot, she realized that it was hot.


    The second one would be fine; she touches the pot, and as a consequence she discovers that it is hot. But the cause-and-effect is wrong in the first version; her touching the pot doesn't lead to her not realizing that it's hot.
    <Reduced> 1b). My sister touched the pot, not realizing that it was hot.
    But why 1b is correct? she touched the pot doesn't lead to her not realizing that it is hot.

    What is the implication of 'ing' in 'touching'?

    Your detail explanation will be very much appreciated. Thank you
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    <Reduced> 1b). My sister touched the pot, not realizing that it was hot.
    But why 1b is correct? she touched the pot doesn't lead to her not realizing that it is hot.

    What is the implication of 'ing' in 'touching'?

    Your detail explanation will be very much appreciated. Thank you
    She touched the pot because she didn't realize that it was hot. "Touching the pot" means "in the act of touching the pot." It needs to be followed by a consequence: Touching the pot, she burned her fingers.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    <Reduced> 1a). Touching the pot, she did not realize that it was hot. :cross:
    <Reduced> 1a). Touching the pot, she immediately discovered that it was hot. :tick:
    <Reduced> 1b). My sister touched the pot, not realizing that it was hot. :tick:
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    She touched the pot because she didn't realize that it was hot. "Touching the pot" means "in the act of touching the pot." It needs to be followed by a consequence: Touching the pot, she burned her fingers.
    I see.
    So for sentence 1b ( My sister touched the pot, not realizing that it was hot.), what is the implication of 'ing' of the word 'realizing', is it purely for reducing to participle clause ?
     
    Last edited:

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    <Reduced> 3b) The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashed into a shop window. :cross:
    <Reduced> 3b(i)) The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashing into a shop window. :tick:
    <Reduced> 3b(ii)) The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist, and smashed into a shop window. :tick:
    For sentence 3b(i) and 3b(ii), what is the purpose of adding comma to sentence 3b(ii)?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Because the syntax is wrong without it — hitting and smashed are different parts of speech so they can’t go together in the same clause like that. The comma separates off “hitting a cyclist” as a non-essential parenthetical clause, thus making the syntax work.

    The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist, and smashed into a shop window.
    =
    The driver lost control of his car and smashed into a shop window hitting a cyclist as he did so.
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Because the syntax is wrong without it — hitting and smashed are different parts of speech so they can’t go together in the same clause like that. The comma separates off “hitting a cyclist” as a non-essential parenthetical clause, thus making the syntax work.

    The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist, and smashed into a shop window.
    =
    The driver lost control of his car and smashed into a shop window hitting a cyclist as he did so.
    3). The driver lost control of his car. He hit a cyclist and smashed into a shop window.

    <Reduced> 3a) Losing control of his car, he hit a cyclist and smashed into a shop window.
    <Reduced> 3b) The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashing into a shop window.


    For sentence 3a), we use participle for 'lose' = losing, and the consequence is 'he hit a cyclist and smashing into a shop window.

    For sentence 3b), we use participle for 'hit' and 'smash' = 'hitting' and 'smashing', but there is no consequence for these acts. what is the motive of using participle (i.e. ing) to 'hit' and 'smash' in this case? (i.e. Why sentence 3b is correct?)

    Your reply is very much appreciated. Thank you.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    <Reduced> 3a) Losing control of his car, he hit a cyclist and smashed into a shop window.
    <Reduced> 3b) The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashing into a shop window.


    For sentence 3b), we use participle for 'hit' and 'smash' = 'hitting' and 'smashing', but there is no consequence for these acts. what is the motive of using participle (i.e. ing) to 'hit' and 'smash' in this case? (i.e. Why sentence 3b is correct?)
    How else would you propose saying it?
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    How else would you propose saying it?
    Hi, I'm sorry to trouble you as I am in the learning stage of English grammar. I find it very difficult to master participle clause. Do you have any effective links to master it?

    I just would like to know besides using participle clause to show the consequence of the first clause as in sentence 3a (i.e. sentence 3a. Losing control of his car, he hit a cyclist and smashed into a shop window.), what other conditions would also lead to the use of present participle?

    For sentence 3b (The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashing into a shop window.), Is it because of joining the two sentences into one sentence, so we use present participle to 'hit' and 'smash' in this case?

    Thank you.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The whole point of your thread is to show how the present participle can be used to amalgamate two sentences that express events/actions happening at the same time, and which both have the same subject. In all three of your examples, either of the two sentences can become the main clause, the other sentence being expressed as an adverbial clause introduced by a present participle which refers to the subject in the main clause.

    More info can be found here: Participle clauses
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    The whole point of your thread is to show how the present participle can be used to amalgamate two sentences that express events/actions happening at the same time, and which both have the same subject. In all three of your examples, either of the two sentences can become the main clause, the other sentence being expressed as an adverbial clause introduced by a present participle which refers to the subject in the main clause.

    More info can be found here: Participle clauses
    The meaning and use of participle clauses
    Participle clauses give information about condition, reason, result or time. For example:



    CONDITION (in place of an if-condition)

    Looked after carefully, this coat will keep you warm through many winters.

    Compare: If you look after it carefully, this coat will keep you warm through many winters.



    REASON (in place of words like so or therefore):

    Wanting to speak to him about the contract, I decided to arrange a meeting.

    Compare: I wanted to speak to him about the contract so I decided to arrange a meeting.



    RESULT (in place of words like because or as a result):

    I had no time to read my book, having spent so long doing my homework.

    Compare: I had no time to read my book because I had spent so long doing my homework.



    TIME (in place of words like when, while or as soon as):

    Sitting at the cafe with my friends, I suddenly realised that I had left the oven on at home.

    Compare: While I was sitting at the cafe with my friends, I suddenly realised that I had left the oven on at home.
    Hi, my fellow friend,
    I have read over the link that you provided, I just could not relate the use of participle clause quoted to sentence 3b (i.e. time, result, reason, condition), what else did I miss?


    3). The driver lost control of his car. He hit a cyclist and smashed into a shop window.
    <Reduced> 3b) The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashing into a shop window.


    My question is on what ground does sentence 3b is written in that way?

    For the red-highlighted part, could you explain which two sentences become the main clause, which sentence is an adverbial clause introduced by a present participle?

    I hope someone here could answer my questions in details because I would like to master this topic well.

    Your reply is very much appreciated.
     
    Last edited:

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Let’s try to keep this simple. Each of these sentences works the same way. In each case you can summarise what’s going on as:

    A
    did B while also [being or doing] C.

    My sister touched the pot, not realizing that it was hot.
    We walked up and down the room, trying to find a way to solve our problem.
    The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashing into a shop window.


    Each main clause has a subject and a verb and is followed by a subordinate clause that provides more information about the same subject, using a verb in the form of a present participle.

    The participle expresses the “also” part of the sentence.
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Let’s try to keep this simple. Each of these sentences works the same way. In each case you can summarise what’s going on as:

    A
    did B while also [being or doing] C.

    My sister touched the pot, not realizing that it was hot.
    We walked up and down the room, trying to find a way to solve our problem.
    The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashing into a shop window.


    Each main clause has a subject and a verb and is followed by a subordinate clause that provides more information about the same subject, using a verb in the form of a present participle.

    The participle expresses the “also” part of the sentence.
    But this way of writing doesn't lead to Participle clauses give information about condition, reason, result or time as follow:
    The meaning and use of participle clauses
    Participle clauses give information about condition, reason, result or time. For example:



    CONDITION (in place of an if-condition)

    Looked after carefully, this coat will keep you warm through many winters.

    Compare: If you look after it carefully, this coat will keep you warm through many winters.



    REASON (in place of words like so or therefore):

    Wanting to speak to him about the contract, I decided to arrange a meeting.

    Compare: I wanted to speak to him about the contract so I decided to arrange a meeting.



    RESULT (in place of words like because or as a result):

    I had no time to read my book, having spent so long doing my homework.

    Compare: I had no time to read my book because I had spent so long doing my homework.



    TIME (in place of words like when, while or as soon as):

    Sitting at the cafe with my friends, I suddenly realised that I had left the oven on at home.

    Compare: While I was sitting at the cafe with my friends, I suddenly realised that I had left the oven on at home.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Those are meant as different examples of how participle clauses are used. They mean that every participle clause will fit into at least one of those categories, not all four!
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Let’s try to keep this simple. Each of these sentences works the same way. In each case you can summarise what’s going on as:

    A
    did B while also [being or doing] C.

    My sister touched the pot, not realizing that it was hot.
    We walked up and down the room, trying to find a way to solve our problem.
    The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashing into a shop window.


    Each main clause has a subject and a verb and is followed by a subordinate clause that provides more information about the same subject, using a verb in the form of a present participle.

    The participle expresses the “also” part of the sentence.
    Could you help me to check whether I have analysed the category that each sentence belong to correctly?

    My sister touched the pot, not realizing that it was hot.---> (Reason )
    We walked up and down the room, trying to find a way to solve our problem.--->(Reason)
    The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashing into a shop window---> (Result)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Those categories are meant to help you understand when to use participle clauses. If they’re confusing you instead, then forget them altogether. You’re just tying yourself up in knots.

    To be perfectly honest, I think the way the subject is presented at the beginning of this thread would, in itself, make participle clauses crystal clear to most people. Where two sentences refer to the same event (with the same subject), they can be combined into a single sentence – using either of them as the main clause, with the other one as a participle clause. That’s really all there is to it.
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Those categories are meant to help you understand when to use participle clauses. If they’re confusing you instead, then forget them altogether. You’re just tying yourself up in knots.

    To be perfectly honest, I think the way the subject is presented at the beginning of this thread would, in itself, make participle clauses crystal clear to most people. Where two sentences refer to the same event (with the same subject), they can be combined into a single sentence – using either of them as the main clause, with the other one as a participle clause. That’s really all there is to it.
    I thought that it is primarily important to understand those categories, so could you help me to check whether I have analysed the category that each sentence belong to correctly?

    a.i). My sister touched the pot, not realizing that it was hot.---> (Reason )
    a.ii). Not realizing that it was hot, my sister touched the pot.---> (Reason)

    bi).We walked up and down the room, trying to find a way to solve our problem.--->(Reason)
    bi). Trying to find a way to solve our problem, we walked up and down the room--->(Reason)

    ci). The driver lost control of his car, hitting a cyclist and smashing into a shop window---> (Result)


    Your reply is very much appreciated.
    Thank you.
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Time - Reason - Result
    a). My sister touched the pot. She did not realize that it was hot.
    ai). My sister touched the pot, not realizing that it was hot.

    TIME (in place of words like when, while or as soon as)
    =>My sister touched the pot when she did not realize that it was hot.

    Is it what you mean to it?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Make up your own mind. It doesn’t fit neatly into any of those categories, but they’re irrelevant anyway except as a guide to when you can use participle clauses.
     

    firee818

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Make up your own mind. It doesn’t fit neatly into any of those categories, but they’re irrelevant anyway except as a guide to when you can use participle clauses.
    Thank you so much.
    Your explanation is indeed very useful to help me to understand participle clause.:)
     
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