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The participle is a non-finite form of the verb. There are two forms of the participle - participle I and participle II.
§ 129. Participle I is a non-finite form of the verb with some adjectival and adverbial features. It is formed by adding the suffix -ing to the stem of the verb.*
* For rules of spelling and pronunciation see § 7. 138
The verbal character of participle I is manifested morphologically in the categories of voice and perfect (see table VII) and syntactically in its combinability. Thus, like the other non-finites, it may combine: a) with a noun or a pronoun as direct, indirect or prepositional object; b) with an adverb or a prepositional phrase as an adverbial modifier; c) with a noun or adjective as a predicative.
a) Seeing Jane, I rushed to greet her.
We didn’t utter a word while listening to the story.
b) Rising early, you’ll make your days longer.
Do you know the man sitting in the middle of the first row?
c) Being absent-minded, he went into the wrong room.
Participle I is used as a pure verb form in the formation of the continuous aspect forms.
The adjectival and adverbial features of participle I are manitested in its syntactical functions as an attribute and an adverbial modifier.
^ , she saw him at once, leaning agains the railing.
(adverbial modifier of time, detached attribute).
Non-perfect participle I active has synonymous adjectives formed from the same verb stem, such as resulting - resultant, convulsing - convulsive, abounding - abundant, deceiving - deceptive. Some participles border on adjectives when used as attributes or predicatives, and have qualitative adjectives as synonyms; for example amusing - funny, boring - dull, deafening - (very) loud. There are even some deverbal adjectives that have completely lost their verbal meaning, for example interesting, charming.
When they lose their verbal character, participles may be modified by adverbs of degree used with adjectives, such as very, so, too, as in very (greatly, exceedingly, etc.) amusing, too boring, most exciting.
My job is with one of the ministers - too boring and distasteful to discuss.
All this was extremely gratifying.
Like an adjective, participle I forms adverbs with the suffix -ly: laughingly, jokingly, surprisingly, admiringly, appealingly, feelingly.
You surprise me, she said feelingly.
The grammatical categories of participle I
The category of perfect in participle I finds its expression in the contrast of the non-perfect and perfect forms.
The non-perfect form suggests that the action denoted by participle I is simultaneous with that of the finite verb. Thus the time-reference of the action expressed by participle I can be understood only from the context, that is it is not absolute, but relative.
The perfect form of participle I indicates that the action denoted by the participle is prior to that denoted by the finite verb.
The meaning of priority may be accompanied by the notion of completion or duration, depending on whether the meaning of the verb is terminative or durative.
Dinny took the little packet, and having brought no bag, slipped it down her dress.
^ several hours in the snow to see me, he was not likely to show much patience when the
house was thrown into darkness.
Like that of the other non-finites, the perfect form of participle I invariably expresses priority, whereas non-perfect participle I varies in its meaning according to the context, expressing either a prior or a simultaneous or a posterior action.
Non-perfect participle I regularly expresses immediate priority and denotes an instantaneous action if it is formed from terminative verbs, such as verbs of motion (to come, to enter, to arrive, to turn, to leave), of sense perception (to see, to hear, to find) and verbs of certain specific actions associated with motion (to put, to put on, to take, to take off, to seize, to grasp, to open).
Arriving at the station, he found his train gone.
^ the house, Andrew continued his round.
Turning the comer, you’ll see the house you are looking for.
Hearing a noise in the garden, I looked out of the window.
Taking off our shoes, we tiptoed into the nursery.
The perfect participle of the same verbs is used when there is a lapse of time between the two actions, or when the action denoted by the participle is durative. Compare the following examples:
^ Jane, I rushed to greet her. But: Having seen tine girl only once, I didn’t recognize her.
Not having seen her for a long time, I didn’t recognize her.
Sometimes the perfect participle is used to emphasize priority. Compare these examples:
Her husband, finding the right key, fits it into the lock of the bureau.
^ , Bateman sent in his card to the manager.
Non-perfect participle I may denote a posterior action, immediately following the first action, forming its part or being its result, as in:
Lizzy left the room, banging the door shut.
John fell, hurting his knee.
There may be a lapse of time between the first and the second (posterior) action. This is evident from the context.
I then hired a car and went home, arriving just before twelve о'clock.
We left at dawn, returning late.
As seen from the above examples non-perfect participle I denoting a prior action usually precedes the predicate verb. When it denotes a posterior action, it stands always after the predicate verb. In both cases it corresponds to the Russian perfective adverbial participle (деепричастие) (приехав, повернув, услышав, сняв, поднявшись, найдя, хлопнув, вернувшись).
§ 130. Participle I of transitive verbs, both non-perfect and perfect, has voice distinctions, which are realized in the contrast of active and passive forms:
Participle I active denotes an action directed from the doer of the action, while participle I passive denotes an action directed towards it.
The carrier of the action may coincide with the subject of the sentence, as in the above examples. It may also be a noun modified by participle I used attributively, in whatever function the noun is used:
Do you know the students translating the text?
Have you read the text being translated by the students?
The doer of the action may be expressed by the nominal element of a predicative construction:
I heard someone mentioning your name.
I heard your name being mentioned at the conference.
Non-perfect participle I active of transitive verbs can be contrasted not only with participle I passive, but also with participle II:
According to the syntactical function of participle I and the aspectual character of the verb, non-perfect participle I passive may denote process, as in:
Have you heard anything of the conference being held at the University? (of the conference which is
being held at the University)
The phrase ^ is ambiguous, because it might be understood as The conference that has been held or -was held or is being held.
Syntactical functions of participle I
§ 131. Participle I performs the syntactical functions characteristic of the adjective and the adverb, and can therefore be used as attribute, predicative, or as adverbial modifier.
It may be used (a) alone or (b) as headword of a participial phrase, or else (c) as part of a predicative construction:
a) Let sleeping dogs lie.
He drank his coffee standing.
b) There are some other people waiting for you.
The youth looked at him curiously, never having seen a Forsyte with a beard.
c) We found him working in the garden.
Participle I as attribute
§ 132. This function is peculiar to non-perfect participle I in its main sense, that of a process simultaneous with the action denoted by the main verb or with the moment of speech. It corresponds to the Russian imperfective participle, usually active: leading - ведущий, asking - спрашивающий, sleeping - спящий. The passive participle I corresponds to the Russian imperfective passive participle: being asked - спрашиваемый, being translated -переводимый, being built - строящийся.
When a participial phrase is used as attribute it follows the modified noun. Its verbal character is evident from its verbal combinability and sometimes from the passive form itself. A participial phrase may be (a) non-detached or (b) detached:
a) We went along the street leading to the seashore.
Emma sat in the armchair facing the door.
Another factor concerns the formality of the language being taught.
b) Once a month Tommy, arriving separately, came in for a brief drink.
A detached participial phrase is set off from the modified noun by a comma (or commas) in writing and by a pause (or pauses) in speech.
When a single participle is used as attribute, it generally functions as a premodifier. Here we usually find only participle I active of intransitive verbs. Its verbal character is clear from the processual meaning of the verb itself: living people, a sleeping dog.
Participle I as a premodifying attribute differs from the gerund in the same function. The noun serves as the subject of the action expressed by the participle, as in a living man = a man who lives, a burning house = a house that is burning, a dancing girl == a girl who is dancing (or dances). The gerund suggests the destination of the object or a person’s occupation, as in writing paper =paper for writing, dancing hall = a hall for dancing, a singing teacher = a teacher of singing. Note also the difference in stress patterns. There are two stresses in the pattern with the participle (a 'burning 'house), the second being the main stress, while in the pattern with the gerund only the first (gerundial) element is stressed (a ' dancing hall); if there are two stresses, the first component has the main stress, as in a 'speaking 'habit, a 'writing 'career.
When a prior action is meant no participle I can be used as attribute, only an attributive clause is used. Thus when we translate sentences with the Russian perfective participle active with the suffix-вш into English we must use an attributive clause: спросивший - who has asked, переводивший (ранее) - who has translated or who has (had) been translating, уехавший -who has gone, вернувшийся - who has (had) returned or who returned, depending on the context or situation:
Я разговаривал со студентами, вернувшимися с практики. – I’ve just talked to the students who have come back from their teaching practice.
Я разговаривал со студентами, вернувшимися с практики на прошлой неделе. – I’ve talked to the students who came back from their school practice last week. .
Женщина, стоявшая на крыльце, вошла в дом. - The woman who had been standing on the porch went into the house, (the action expressed by the participle is prior to that of the finite verb) But: Я обратился к женщине, стоявшей на крыльце. - I addressed the woman standing on the porch (simultaneous actions).
§ 133. All the four forms of participle I can function as adverbial modifiers of different semantic types (time, reason, manner, attendant circumstances, and sometimes condition, concession, comparison).
The semantic type of the adverbial modifier is clear from the context and the predicate group, as in:
^ , he felt ill at case. (adverbial modifier of reason)
In some cases, however, the functional meaning is not so obvious. For example, there may be a combination of causal and temporal meaning as in:
Seeing her, he stopped (he stopped because he saw her, or when he saw her).
or of causal and conditional meaning:
Living alone, one becomes self-centred (as one lives alone, or if one lives alone).
Very often to make the semantical relationship clearer, certain conjunctions are employed, such as: when, while, though, as if, as though, if.
1) Participle I as adverbial modifier of time may denote a simultaneous or a prior action. Here it corresponds to the Russian adverbial participle (деепричастие).
Non-perfect participle I active, when used as an adverbial modifier of time, usually conveys the meaning of the motion or state. Most often it is a participle of the verbs of motion (come, walk, go), or position in space (sit, lie, stand).
Walking along the track, Bowen burst into song.
Returning to London, Arthur had thrown himself into the work.
Standing there now on the corner of the stage, he went on as before.
^ , he dictated his farewell letter to his brother.
The notion of simultaneity may be expressed more explicitly by the conjunctions when and while.
He felt horrible while saying this.
Don’t forget articles when speaking English.
Participle I passive in this function usually denotes priority.
He enquired hurriedly whether Mrs. Forsyte was at home and being informed that she was not, heaved a
sigh of relief.
^ , Paulina and I kept silence for some time.
Perfect participle I as adverbial modifier of time, always denotes a prior action.
They wrote because they had to, and having written, thought only of what they were going to write next.
2) Participle I as adverbial modifier of reason can be expressed by all the four forms. The most frequently used non-perfect participles I are those of verbs denoting mental perception and emotions, for example, knowing, realizing, remembering, expecting, hoping, fearing; also the participles being and having.
Hoping to catch the train, we took a taxi.
She knew that we were guilty. And knowing it, the child in her was outraged.
Being there, I could see all.
He’s very conceited, you know, having parades and things all the time.
Having decided on this course of action some time ago, I was unable to stay at home.
Another characteristic feature of participles functioning as adverbials of reason consists in their combinability with negation (no matter what it is expressed by).
I turned back, not knowing where to go.
Even then he hadn’t been able to watch her, not having eyes in the back of his head.
3) The adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances is one of the most characteristic of participle I - it is considered to be the main grammatical meaning of non-perfect participle I. In this case participle I denotes some action or event parallel to the action or state denoted by the finite verb.
Deb was silent, fidgeting with the spoon in her saucer.
I laughed, and still laughing turned away eastward.
4) Participle I as an adverbial modifier of manner is akin to an adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances. The difference consists in the fact that an adverbial modifier of manner characterizes the action of the finite verb, whereas that of attendant circumstances denotes a parallel action or event.
He came in carrying a big parcel.
5) Occasionally participle I occurs as an adverbial modifier of comparison, concession or condition.
As an adverbial of comparison the participle is always preceded by the conjunction as if, as though:
^ , I turned and stared into his face.
When participle I is used as an adverbial modifier of concession the conjunction is not obligatory and then the idea of concession may be understood from the context. However the conjunction though will make the semantic relationship clearer.
Somebody was waiting: a man who, though moving irregularly, was making quite a speed in my direction.
In the same way participle I as an adverbial modifier of condition is recognized by its syntactical surroundings. It is either the subjunctive mood or the future tense form which allows a participial phrase to function as an adverbial modifier of condition:
She ought to be there and her absence might be resented, but being there she wouldn’t know what to say (но, если бы она была там ... , ... но будучи там ...).
Well, we’ll be in Scotland afore we know where we are, going at this speed (... если будем двигаться с такой скоростью).
§ 134. Non-perfect participle I can be part of a compound verbal predicate of double orientation. Within this type of predicate participle I follows verbs of sense perception, such as to see, to hear, to feel, to find, to catch, also some causative verbs, such as to keep, to leave in the passive voice.
Jane was heard playing the piano.
Paul was found working in the garden.
The boy was caught teasing the cat.
I was kept waiting an hour or so.
I was left standing on the stage.
In this type of predicate participle I active is generally used, though occasionally non-perfect participle I passive is to be found.
He flicks the switch and “Roll Out the Barrel” is heard being whistled.
The predicate of double orientation consists of two parts: the first is oriented on somebody implied, and the second refers semantically to the doer of the action expressed by the subject. Thus the first example means that somebody heard that Jane was playing the piano.* Therefore sentences with this type of predicate are translated into Russian by indefinite personal or impersonal sentences, complex or simple, depending on the verb in the passive voice.
* See p. II Syntax, § 53 The compound verbal predicate of double orientation; also § 123 Predicative complexes (the subjective predicative construction).
^ (слышно было), как Джейн играет на рояле.
Меня заставили ждать почти целый час.
Participle I as predicative
§ 135. In the position of predicative only non-perfect participle I active occurs, its adjectival character being predominant. Although keeping the form of the participle, it is treated as an adjective, or a deverbal adjective.
The participle in this position gives the qualitative characterization to the person or thing used as subject (or object, in the case of the objective predicative).
Participle I as predicative may be used with other linkverbs, in which case it may keep its verbal character, as in:
Isadora remained standing.
Participle I as independent element (parenthesis)
§ 136. Participle I as parenthesis forms the headword of a participial phrase, the meaning of which is a comment upon the contents of the whole sentence or sometimes part of it. The comment may take the form of a logical restriction or personal attitude. Here we find such participial phrases as generally (properly, roughly, legally, strictly) speaking, putting it mildly, judging by (from), allowing for, taking everything into consideration, etc.
Judging from what you say, he ought to succeed.
^ , this is illegal.
Predicative constructions with participle I
§ 137. Participle I may function as part of a predicative construction, entering into a predicative relationship with some nominal element and forming a syntactical unit with it.
The objective participial construction
The objective participial construction consists of a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the objective case and participle I forming a syntactical complex, the two main components of which are in predicative relationship. Since the construction always follows transitive verbs, its syntactical function is that of a complex object.* Thus in its meaning it corresponds to a subordinate clause and is usually translated into Russian by a subordinate object clause:
* For details see p. II Syntax. The Predicative Constructions (The Complex Object).
In many cases, however, the translation depends on the verb it reters to and on the requirements of the Russian usage.
The nominal element usually refers to a person or a thing different from that denoted by the subject of the sentence. If it refers to the same person as the subject, a reflexive pronoun is to be used, as in:
He heard himself uttering the words.
The construction is generally used with non-perfect participle I active, and occasionally it occurs with participle I passive:
I could see the books being taken away.
Some of the verbs followed by the objective participial construction occur also with the objective infinitive construction (such as to see, to watch, to hear, to feel). The difference between these two constructions concerns the meaning suggested by an infinitive or participle I; the former emphasizes the fact of an action being completed, the latter its processual character, as in:
If the homogeneous infinitives are used, they denote two actions in succession. If two participles I are homogeneous, they suggest two simultaneous actions.
The objective participial construction is used:
a) with verbs of sense perception,
b)with various verbs of causative meaning, or inducement.
c) occasionally with verbs expressing wish.
We saw (watched, heard, listened to) the train approaching the station.
Do you smell something burning?
I could feel the dog leaning against my feet.
We found him working in the garden.
I won’t have you smoking at your age!
They soon got (started) things going.
Don’t keep me waiting. I’m in a hurry.
Your words set me thinking.
Can you start (set) that engine going?
Sentences with the verbs of this group are usually translated into Russian by simple sentences.
c) to want, to like
I don’t want you talking back to me.
They didn’t like me leaving so early.
§ 138. The nominative absolute participial construction.
This construction consists of two interdependent elements, nominal and verbal, which are in a predicative relation. The nominal element is a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the nominative case. The verbal element is participle I in any of its forms. The nominal and the verbal elements make a syntactical complex functioning as a detached adverbial modifier. Unlike the objective participial construction it does not depend on a verb:
^ , Mary sat down again to wait for him.
The difference between a participial phrase and a nominative absolute participial construction may be illustrated as follows:
Having read the novel Jane (she) put it aside.
The novel having been read, Jane (she) put it aside.
In a participial phrase the subject of the sentence is as a rule related both to the predicate verb and to the participle. In a sentence with a nominative absolute participial construction the subject of the sentence is related only to the predicate verb, and the nominal element is related to the participle.
The nominative absolute participial construction functions syntactically as an adverbial modifier: an adverbial modifier of a) attendant circumstances, b) reason, c) occasionally time.
a) Llewellyn looked through the window, his glance travelling towards the bridge.
Mabel hurried out of the car and walked away, tears streaming down her face.
We were both standing leaning against the mantelpiece, she admirng her fan of blotting paper, I staring
A nominative absolute participial construction as an adverbial of attendant circumstances usually stands in postposition, and is widely used in literature.
It is translated into Russian by a coordinate clause: ^
b) But I was a little on edge, there being something to report.
The ship’s band did not play in the morning, it being Sunday.
c) The work being finished, the two girls went into the shop.
Sentences with a nominative absolute participial construction as an adverbial of reason or time are translated by complex sentences with the corresponding subordinate clauses: ^
As well as in sentences with participial phrases causal and temporal meanings may be combined, as in:
Ice having thus been broken, the two former rivals grew still more affectionate.
A prepositional absolute construction differs from a non-prepositional participial construction in that it is introduced by the preposition with. Its nominal part is usually a noun in the common case, or very rarely a personal pronoun in the objective case. It is not necessarily set off by a comma:
Andrew went into the house with his heart beating fast.
The main syntactical function of the construction is an adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances, as in:
The officer sat with his long fine hands lying on the table perfectly still.
The meaning of attendant circumstances may be combined with temporal or causal ones:
I won’t speak with him staring at me like that.
Just now, with the harvest coming on, everything looks its richest.
It (St. John’s Wood) is ever so pretty with all the trees coming out.
The construction is usually translated into Russian by a coordinate or a subordinate clause, and sometimes by means of a prepositional phrase, or an adverbial participle (деепричастие).
(Когда) Эндрю вошел в дом, сердце его сильно билось (с бьющимся сердцем).
Теперь, когда приближается время жатвы, все так красиво.
Participle I and the gerund compared
§ 139. Participle I and the gerund are alike in their verbal characteristics, both morphological (the categories of voice and perfect) and syntactical (verbal combinability).
The difference between the two lies in their non-verbal characteristics, that is in their syntactical functions and non-verbal combinability. Participle I, unless substantivized, cannot be used as subject or object, whereas such use is typical of the noun and therefore of the gerund. When used as adverbial modifier or attribute, participle I like an adjective or an adverb is never preceded by a preposition. On the other hand when the gerund is used as attribute or adverbial modifier it is preceded by a preposition like a noun in these functions.
The difference between the two is also to be found in the nominal tendencies of the gerund and the adjectival tendencies of participle I. This is most evident in their function of a predicative and an attribute.
As predicative participle I gives qualitative characteristics to the subject, thus tending towards an adjective, as in:
The sound of the thunder was deafening.
The gerund does not qualify the subject, it rather identifies the subject by revealing its meaning, as in:
His favourite occupation is collecting stamps (or playing football or just football).
When a gerund or a participle is used as an attribute, the difference between them does not lie only in the absence, or presence of the preposition, but also in their relationship to the modified noun. (For details see § 132 on premodifying attributes). Participle I denotes an action that the person or thing performs or experiences:
What is the name of the man talking with your sister?
Thus the modified noun denotes the doer of the action expressed by the participle.
The gerund usually reveals the meaning of the modified noun, which never denotes the performer of the action.
What the use of crying so?
That was my last chance of seeing him.
There was no hope of saving her.
When used as an adverbial modifier, the gerund is more varied in its application than the participle because it is used with different prepositions.
The participle and the gerund are interchangeable when used as adverbials of time characterizing the verb through simultaneous or prior events:
Only the gerund is possible when the starting or the final point of the action is meant, as in:
He has never been at his native town since leaving it in 1964.
You must get your parents’ permission before leaving for the mountains.
Yet there are a number of cases, especially among predicative constructions, where the -ing form may be treated either as a participle or a gerund, the difference between them being neutralized, as in:
I don’t count on him scaring easily.
Then he was aware of Toscato shaking the door of the box.
I remember them staying with us once.
Fancy him saying so!
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Каушанская В. Л. и др. Грамматика английского языка. – М. Просвещение, 1987. – С. 47-51; С. 204-205
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