About the participle constrution.


Hello Grammarly~

I am an English teacher in south Korea.

Yesterday, I was asked a question about rewriting an orginal[given] sentence without using the participle construction.


the original sentence : Waving her hand, she disappeared in the darkness.

the answers
1. After she waved her hand, she disappeared in the darkness.
2. While she waved her hand, she disappeared in the darkness.


I thought both sentences are right.

I think the reason people use 'the participle constructions' is to shorten a long sentence when they write and to give a vivid impression to the readers by making them think of or infer the original meanings. Am I wrong?

edited Jul 09 '11 at 09:48 Dean New member

2 answers




You aren't entirely wrong.  Another function of the continous or present participle is to convey simultaneous actions.  Consistently in English we use the continuous form to set a background action that is interrupted or overlayed with another action, usually in the past participle or past simple.


The original sentence you give shows this -- a simultaneous action.


At the same time, you are correct that we shorten sentences by using the present participle.  The sentences that you've given, however, seem to have slightly different meanings than the full sentence using the present participle.  The second sentence seems the closest.  If I had to write out the full sentence for the original sentence, here is what I would write:


While she was waving her hand, she disappeared into the darkness. 


As you can see we do use the present participle to shorten the sentence, but we are using it to replace all the unecessary words. We can do this because the same subject is mentioned in the main clause (she).  

link edited Jul 12 '11 at 17:00 Kimberly Expert

Thanks for your kind explanation. Now I can get it what it means for your help. thanks again. I'm really sorry to bother you, but Do you mean the first sentence (After she waved her hand, she disappeared into the darkness.)is the grammatically wrong as an original sentence? If you are busy, I imagine, Could you just give me an short answer, 'Yes or No' ? DeanJul 13 '11 at 06:59

a short answer DeanJul 13 '11 at 07:10

The first sentence is NOT grammatically wrong. It shows, however, that she did one action after the other instead of at the same time, which is implied by the other sentences. KimberlyJul 13 '11 at 15:26

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After she waved her hand, she disappeared into the darkness - is not grammatically wrong but on the other hand in context to the original sentence it conveys a differrent action, as Kimberly pointed out the original sentence is conveying two simultaneous actions!

link comment answered Jul 13 '11 at 11:44 Fredrick New member

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