3

OP

Used sparingly, this face cream should last you until Christmas.

If you use it sparingly, this face cream should last you until Christmas.

Does the first participle clause also equal "if this face cream was used sparingly, this face cream should last you until Christmas"?
As I saw in the grammar book. It comes to "shorten a passive clause using past participle clause"

  • 2
    Yes, those mean the same thing. The first sentence is a shortened version of "[If it is] used sparingly,...". – imkingdavid Sep 19 '15 at 11:54
  • Please use more specific tags that actually describe the grammatical issues under discussion, not the grammar meta-tag, which tells nobody anything. – tchrist Sep 20 '15 at 18:40
  • The tag probably was chosen as filler... – Nihilist_Frost Oct 14 '15 at 14:45
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Short answer: They mean the same thing, but one is active and the other is passive

Under most circumstances they mean the same thing. However, they don't quite.
The first is a shortened version of "[If it is] used sparingly...". This clause doesn't specify who will use it, and it is harder to notice because this clause is passive.
The second sentence specifies that you will be using it. Because it is active, it has to specify who will use it.

However, most people won't pick up on that unless they are analysing the sentence. So you can safely use them interchangeably most of the time.

  • The reason most people wouldn't pick up on this "difference" is because in context it's vanishingly unlikely there would be one - given we're told it should last you until Christmas. So it's really a difference in syntax, not semantics as such. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 29 '15 at 17:02

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