While I was reading a magazine, I saw a sentence that makes me think about orders, placements of the participles.

Anyone caught playing faced fines and even potential jail time.

I think that the present participle should be placed between "anyone" and "caught. Who was caught ? The answer is anyone playing.

Is there an absolute rule related to which participle comes first or both of them could come first ?

  • It's correct as it is. It has the same meaning as "Anyone who was caught playing faced fines ..."
    – BillJ
    Feb 2, 2020 at 19:35
  • "Anyone playing caught faced fines"? The rules for placement are not tied to the lexical nature of the words (i.e., in this case that they're verbs in general and participles specifically), but depend on the function the words play in the sentence. If you put "playing" between "anyone" and "caught," you get a parse that makes caught the object of "playing," as in "playing poker." Which fails for the obvious reason.
    – user105719
    Feb 2, 2020 at 20:05
  • There is no participle, really. The who was is implied: Anyone who was caught playing.
    – Lambie
    Feb 2, 2020 at 21:11
  • Yes, there is. "Caught playing" is a past-participial clause modifying "anyone". There's no 'implied' "who"; it's a different clause type, not a hybrid relative one. Even in the relative "anyone who was [caught playing]", "caught playing" is a past-participial clause functioning as complement of "was".
    – BillJ
    Feb 3, 2020 at 8:48

1 Answer 1


It is correct as it is.

Anyone caught playing faced fines and even potential jail time.

You could say "anyone who was caught...", but "anyone caught" is arguably better in this context, as it carries more certainty.

Consider warning signs like "thieves will be prosecuted". It wouldn't be quite as effective if it said "thieves who are caught will be prosecuted" as it hints that there are some who don't get caught and get away with it. The more succinct it is, the more serious it comes across.

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