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    #1

    present participle

    I know participles can be used to modify a noun, then are those present participles mistakenly used in the following sentences?

    1.The accident taking place yesterday was caused by his carelessness.
    2. The war breaking out years ago affected that country's economy.

    I hold the opinion that since those phrases refer to acts that happened in a short moment in the past, they cannot be used in this way to modify a noun, and a relative clause has to be used here. But I'm not sure about it. Could you help me? Thank you so much.

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    #2

    Re: present participle

    Neither sentence is correct regardless of whether it was a "short moment" in the past or not.

    You could say, 1. "The accident, having taken place yesterday, was caused........." OR "The accident that (took place OR happened) yesterday............." and 2. "The war (having broken out OR that broke out) years ago..............."

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    #3

    Re: present participle

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    Neither sentence is correct regardless of whether it was a "short moment" in the past or not.

    You could say, 1. "The accident, having taken place yesterday, was caused........." OR "The accident that (took place OR happened) yesterday............." and 2. "The war (having broken out OR that broke out) years ago..............."

    Thank you very much. Is there a rule then? It seems "The team consisting of 2 doctors and 3 nurses returned from the disaster area." is right, and so is the setence "The man working in this company years ago was found."
    If I want to express the idea that "the man who has prepared the documents is the firm's lawyer" , I cannot simply use "the man preparing the documents", should I also use "the man having prepared the documents..." instead? I do need help in this aspect. Thanks again.

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    #4

    Re: present participle

    not a teacher

    The man who prepared the document is the firm's lawyer. (past tense preferred since it is simply a 'statement of the past'.)

    The man, having prepared the documents, got his client to sign them. (to describe a sequence of action)

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    #5

    Re: present participle

    "The man working in this company years ago was found." This is not a correct sentence.

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    #6

    Re: present participle

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "The man working in this company years ago was found." This is not a correct sentence.
    Could you tell me which part is wrong? What about the sentence "The man working in this company years ago has been found."? I'm really having trouble using this kind of sentences.
    Last edited by chance22; 19-Mar-2010 at 15:49.

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    #7

    Re: present participle

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "The man working in this company years ago was found." This is not a correct sentence.
    Agree. You can omit 'that is', but you cannot omit 'that was' to get a reduced relative.

    The man working = the man (that is) working

    "that is working years ago" -- The adjunct (years ago) is incongruous with the present progressive (is working).

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    #8

    Re: present participle

    OK. First, the sentence “The team, consisting of etc., etc.” is OK because the verb “consist” is a stative verb i.e. a non-action verb and indicates description or possession and, in general, stative verbs cannot be used in a continuous/progressive form. And in your example it is not used to describe an action, rather it is used to describe the “team”, unlike your second example in which you used a dynamic/action verb.

    In your second example you are using a present continuous form of a verb, “working” with a past expression, “years ago” and therefore, incompatible. Would I understand what you meant? Yes. Is it grammatically correct? No. You could say, “The man who was working (past continuous) in this company years ago was found” to indicate that he worked for a period of undetermined time. OR, “The man who worked in this company years ago was found” to indicate simply that he worked there, also an undetermined time but maybe only for a day, a week, a year etc. OR, “The man who had worked (past perfect) in this company……” This example has the same meaning as using simple past. OR, “The man who has worked (present perfect) in this company years ago” (OK but I don’t like “years ago” with the present perfect. So, my ANSWER IS……..I prefer simple past or past perfect.

    Finally, “The man who has prepared the documents is the firm’s lawyer” is fine. The documents have been completed and they were prepared by a lawyer of some previously identified firm. “The man preparing the documents…………..” The documents have not been completed. “The man having prepared the documents…………” In this example I expect that there would be some action on the part of the man but not a description of the man himself as "the firm's lawyer"----rather, for example, "delivered them to our office".

    I know that distinctions and uses among simple past, present perfect and past perfect can be confusing especially when there isslight , or sometimes no difference in correct usage. Suggest you find a good reference to study the nuances among the forms. My "grammar bible" is "A Practical English Grammar", Oxford University Press but there are plenty of other good references.

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    #9

    Re: present participle

    Thank billmcd very much for the explanation. I find this very useful.

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