I have got a couple of questions about participles. I would like to understand clearly the usage and grammar of participles.

  1. I've been studying participle phrases. And I found a participle phrase can be changed using the adjective clause such as:

The girl who standing there is my friend (= the girl standing there is my friend )

I wonder if adjective clause can just be changed in continuous tense or not?

  1. I know the participle phrase act as an adjective. I wonder does it stress action in progress when it acts as an adjective?
  • 2
    Note that we can also use the book stood on the shelf to identify that specific book (as opposed to other books placed elsewhere), in exactly the same way as the book standing on the shelf. Whichever verb form is used, there's not really any implication of action (whether completed or ongoing) - it just identifies the current state/location of the book. Jun 23, 2015 at 15:19
  • @FumbleFingers So Using the present participle in the continuous tense is not relative with the present participle as adjective? Is it?
    – Blod Mary
    Jun 23, 2015 at 15:38
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    @BlodMary What grammar book says that The girl who standing there is my friend (= the girl standing there is my friend )? -- It is a very odd sentence. (I'd say it's ungrammatical. It should be, at the very least, The girl who is standing there is my friend.) Jun 23, 2015 at 17:02
  • @Blod: I don't understand your terminology, or what exactly you're asking. But it might help you to know that it's perfectly natural to say Please pass me that book sitting on the shelf behind you. Where sitting could be replaced by standing or lying (or even omitted completely) without significantly affecting the meaning. And regardless of how it's expressed, the speaker wouldn't be thinking in terms of the book actually "doing" anything at all - he's just identifying that specific book by specifying its location. Jun 23, 2015 at 17:13
  • @Damkerng: I'm sure OP's specific example is a simple typo, but you have to be careful about identifying all such constructions as "ungrammatical". It would be hard to argue with When he awoke to the sound of her raucous snoring, the girl who singing in the club last night had seemed so alluring now just disgusted him. (On syntactic grounds, at least - I don't defend either the characters or their behaviour! :) Jun 23, 2015 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


If your example is meant to be a sentence, then it is ungrammatical and should have been:

The girl who is standing there is my friend.

It breaks down as follows:

The girl is my friend. Which girl? The girl who is standing there.

"who is standing there" is called a relative clause, signalled by the relative pronoun "who", which is the subject of the relative clause. The main verb of the relative clause is the present continuous verb "is standing". Where the standing takes place is indicated by the adverb "there".

You are right that in this particular case it is more or less equivalent to:

The girl standing there is my friend.

It can also work with more complicated cases, though the shorter version might sound odd to some people:

The boy [who is] writing on the board is my neighbour.

Note that the shorter form does not by itself necessitate present tense. For example:

The man [who was] sitting on our right stood up and left.

Also, shortening is also allowed when the main verb of the relative clause is the copulative ("is / was / will be") and the predicate complement (sometimes called "object") is a preposition or a past participle functioning as an adjective, such as:

The woman [who is] in this picture is my grandmother.

The book [that had been] on the table had disappeared!

The houses [that were] buffeted by the incredible wind have all fallen down.

Those [who will be] leaving next week will be given a farewell dinner tomorrow.

There are various additional cases where shortening is permitted, and this is not in any way an exhaustive list:

The people [whom] I met at the park today were very friendly.

This child [that is] here needs rest.

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