2

OP: Whistling to himself, he walked down the road. = He whistled to himself as he walked down the road.

Shouldn't it be like this?

He walked down the road as he whistled to himself?

I saw a similar example:

Walking down the street on Saturday, I saw Simon. = When I was walking down the street, I saw Simon.

If I follow this logic, the "as/when" should be placed before the sentence using participle clause, right? But the OP's sentence does not fit in with this logic, instead OP place it contrarily.

  • 1
    Right, so why can't it be "As he whistled to himself, he walked down the road"? Since the two actions are simultaneous, it doesn't really matter which is preceded with 'as'. – Victor Bazarov Sep 18 '15 at 11:31
  • it's my own example " tutor went up the podium,saying that the educational strategy should be reformed." what kind of participle clause does it stand for? does it mean " tutor went up the podium and said that ...." but when it comes to such case,it should be paraphrased like "going up the podium,tutor said that ......" as i saw in the grammar website,it was like"when one action follows very quickly after another done by the same person or thing, we can express the first action with a present participle" and in my example,the first action is " tutore went up the podium" .. – 오준수 Sep 18 '15 at 13:58
  • could you tell me what kind of participle clause is it ? – 오준수 Sep 18 '15 at 14:01
  • The sentence "tutor went, saying" sounds like the tutor was speaking on his way, i.e. the simultaneous actions, so I'd probably use "while" or "as". – Victor Bazarov Sep 18 '15 at 14:03
  • To answer your question in the comments... Firstly you can't say "tutor" just like that and it should be "the tutor". Secondly it probably should be "went up to the podium". Thirdly, Victor is right that "the tutor went up to the podium, saying ..." implies that while he was "saying ..." he went up to the podium. – user21820 Nov 29 '15 at 4:34
1

Whistling to himself, he walked down the road.

This does not mean what you thought, but rather:

He walked down the road while he was whistling to himself.

The reason is that such participial clauses are usually adjectival in nature, and describe the subject of the main verb. The main sentence is:

He walked down the road.

And the participial clause tells you that "he" was "whistling to himself".

Similarly we have:

Walking down the street on Saturday, I saw Simon.

which means:

I saw Simon while I was walking down the street on Saturday.

Now the next question is why the participial clauses use the present continuous tense. The reason is that the participial clause describe the situation in which the subject was in at the time of the main verb, and thus in your examples the present continuous tense is correct because the "whistling" and the "walking" are ongoing at the time of the main verb "walked" and "saw" respectively.

In contrast, we can have participial clauses which describe a state at the time of the main verb rather than an ongoing event:

Having reached the end of the road, he stopped and looked around.

"having reached ..." describes the state in which "he" was in, namely that he "had reached ...". Again, we use the continuous helper verb "having" because being in that state is ongoing at the time that "he stopped and looked around". If we split into two sentences it would be "He [had] reached the end of the road, so he stopped and looked around.". Note that the "had" is optional here.

Not having had enough time, he could not do a good job.

Split into two sentences, this would be "He {did not have/had not had} enough time, so he could not do a good job.".

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.