Good evening guys! Reading Gold Proficiency Maximiser, I found this chart worth discussing. I have several questions about it, so let's start:

1. Nobody having any more questions to ask, the meeting came to a close.

It is said that the subject of the participle clause is usually the same as that of the main clause. I'm used to this "usually" thing, but it would be strange if it were an exception right after they wrote the rule.Does this sentence have two subjects "Nobody" and "the meeting" or I'm wrong?

2. Generally speaking, women perform this task better then men.

Again, as it is written:"In some common expressions,however,the participle clause can be given its own subject".The question is, it seems to me that "women" here is the subject,but how is it given to the participle clause if it is in the main clause?

3. Wanting to catch his attention,she whistled shrilly".

Why is "having wanted" incorrect despite that they wrote that all of the (wanting to),(wanted by) and (having wanted to) are possible to use. And one more thing, could you give me an example of "wanted by" in a sentence together with its meaning?

1 Answer 1

  1. Yes, you have two subjects in that sentence. This is possible when the participial clause is an absolute construction, formed by Subject + participle. The rule about the subject of the participial clause being the same as the subject of the main clause applies when there is NO subject in the participial clause, but in this case you do have a subject, which is "Nobody".

  2. Phrases like "generally speaking", "broadly speaking", "strictly speaking", etc. can be said to be exceptions to the rule you mentioned about the participial clause usually sharing the same subject of the main clause.

  3. The perfect participle will only be used when you need to make clear that a certain action or state was previous to the one denoted by the main verb, but this is not the case here: her wanting to catch his attention was simultaneous with her whistling. Actually, you'd say: She whistled because she wanted to catch his attention, NOT because she had wanted to catch his attention.

  • But why then they wrote that the participle clause may be given its OWN subject? So to say, there is no difference between the rule and its exception since both of them have ONE subject. What is the subject of the participle clause "generally speaking"? And what about "wanted by" ? :)
    – Dmitrii
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 17:42
  • @Dmitrii The understood subject of "generally speaking" is "I" or "we" (that is, the speaker), so that participial clause is equivalent to: I / We think that ... "wanted by" must have the same subject as the main clause: Wanted by the police, the criminal decided to surrender (Who was wanted by the police?: the criminal). If the understood subject of the participial clause is not the same as the subject in the main clause, we have a dangling participial clause, which is wrong: Walking through the city, there were many shops.
    – Gustavson
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 20:20

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