Present Particple Clauses

Reduce active sentences to present-participial modifying clauses

 

Alcatraz
 

Active-verb Sentence vs. Present-participial Modifying Clause

TWO SENTENCES WITH THE SAME SUBJECT

A clause with an active voice verb that shares the same subject as another clause can usually be joined. The active verb form— present, past, present perfect in either progressive or nonprogressive form— is changed to the present participle form.   

SUBJECT PREDICATE

The Island

 

sits in the center of San Francisco Bay.

The Island

served as the site for a federal prison from 1933 until 1963.

SUBJECT PREDICATE

Alcatraz Island 

sits in the center of San Francisco Bay.

Alcatraz Island

held several infamous inmates.

JOINED SENTENCES

The modifying clause is placed after the noun it modifies. The relative pronoun that or which is removed and the verb is changed to the present-participle form, -ing form.) Commas are placed before and after the clause if the information is non-identifying.

SHARED SUBJ MODIFYING CLAUSE PREDICATE

The Island

which sits sitting in the center of San Francisco Bay

served as a federal prison from 1933 until 1963.

 

 

 

SHARED SUBJ NON-ID CLAUSE PREDICATE

Alcatraz Island,

sitting in the center of San Francisco Bay, 

held several infamous inmates.

 

[commas]

 

 

In linguistic description, a finite (full) clause is changed to a nonfinite (reduced) clause.  The secondary verb form of the nonfinite clause is a gerund-participle and it is not marked for tense or number. The subject is understood from the main clause.

infamous (adj.) – well-known for bad behavior

inmates (n.) – people serving time in prison

site (n.) – location

Related pages: Past Participle Clauses, Clause Reduc 1,  Clause Reduc 2 , identifying / nonidentifying clause.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participle Clauses

Active / Passive Clause Reduction

 

 

 

Active vs. Passive Clause Reduction

SUBJECT MODIFYING CLAUSE PREDICATE

The subject of a clause can be modified with a clause whose subject is the same.

The subject of the clause is omitted and an active verb form is reduced to the present participle (-ing) and a passive verb is reduced to a past participle. (-ed). Omit the relative pronoun.

The clause is set off from the subject and the remainder of the sentence with commas if it is non-identifying.

NOUN (NP) IDENTIFYING CLAUSE  

Prisoners 

who were serving time on "The Rock"   (present participle)

hated the weather.

Prisoners

who were imprisoned on "The Rock"   (past participle)

hated the fog.
 

PROPER NOUN (NP) NONIDENTIFYING CLAUSE (add commas)  

Al Capone, 

who was doing time for numerous crimes,
 (present participle)

thought he would never be caught.

Al Capone, 

who was convicted on tax evasion,
   (past participle)

was also involved in murder prostitution, bootlegging and racketeering.
 

tax evasion – avoiding the payment of taxes

bootlegging — selling of alcohol during Prohibition

racketeering — a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, especially in organized crime (e.g. "protection")

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

London Bridge in Arizona
 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

The London Bridge  located in England is now in Arizona.  

It is not clear that the bridge was relocated (rebuilt) in a new place.

 

Michele Obama demonstrating her hula hooping skills on the White House lawn.  The sentence is missing a verb. This is acceptable as a picture caption in a news story, however.

 

Michele Obama known for her healthy lifestyle.  This is an incomplete sentence - missing the verb or misusing the verb form.

SOLUTION

The London Bridge that was in England is now in Arizona. 

Do not reduce the clause if the verb tense expressed by be is needed to make sense. 

Michele Obama was demonstrating her hula hooping skills on the White House lawn. (Change the participle form  to a complete verb form.)

Michele Obama, demonstrating her hula hooping skills on the White House lawn, promoted healthy activities. (Use the present participle to introduce a modifying clause AND add a main verb to complete the sentence.) 

Michelle Obama is known for her healthy lifestyle.  (Change the participle form  to a complete verb form.)

Michelle Obama, known for her healthy lifestyle, was pictured on the front of "Life Style" magazine. (Use the past participle to introduce a modifying clause AND add a main verb to complete the sentence.)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Description

Advanced

 

 

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

That + Be Deletion  Rule:    In a modifying clause with a be verb form (prepositional phrase, a passive verb or a progressive verb):

     1)  Omit the subject pronoun (that, who / whom, which).
     2)  Omit the be verb. 

Modified clause: The federal agency — that was locating the prison on Alcatraz — preferred the isolation of the island.
___________________

"An adjective phrase is a reduction of an adjective clause. It modifies a noun. It does not contain a subject and a verb."

(Azar "Reducing Adjective Clauses to Adjective Phrases" 13-11)
____________________

"A participle is often used intead of a relative pronoun and full verb."

(Swan "Reduced relative clauses" 498.10)

 

A finite clause (containing a verb marked with tense) can be changed to a nonfinite subordinate clause (containing a verbal form – a past participle, gerund-participle, or infinitive) which becomes a modifying part of another sentence element —adjectival, adverbial, or nominal.

Finite clause  — which was locating the prison on Alcatraz —  the clause has the internal structure of a sentence--it has a subject and a verb marked with tense.

Nonfinite clauselocating the prison on Alcatraz  —  the clause has a verbal form, a participle, not marked by tense. The clause becomes part of another sentence element, in this case, the subject—  The federal agency locating the prison on Alcatraz
Modified clauseThe federal agency — locating the prison on Alcatraz — preferred the isolation of the island.
"Non-finite clauses as modifiers and supplements" (Huddleston 14 §9, 1264) 
  

ADJECTIVE CLAUSE PARTICIPIAL MODIFIER – FINITE CLAUSE

diagram of present participle clause 

The federal agency that was building the prison

REDUCED — ADJECTIVE PHRASE PARTICIPIAL MODIFIER – NONFINITE CLAUSE

diagram of a reduced present participle clause

Tree diagram of a nonfinite clause

Grammatical Functions: Subject – (Subj) the agent of the action; Predicate/Predicator – (Pred) the action or change in state; Complement – Comp  –  an element required to complete the subject and verb; Adjunct – an element not required by the verb, a modifying word, phrase, clause; Supplement – a comment in the form of a word, phrase or clause that is loosely related to the central idea of the sentence.

Lexical Categories "Parts of Speech": N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adj – adjective; AdjP – adjective phrase; Adv – adverb; AdvP – adverb phrase; P – preposition; PP – prepositional phrase; Det – determiners –  noun markers (e.g., articles, quantifiers, demonstratives, possessives); Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator; Interj – interjection; INF – infiniitve: GER – gerund; Nonfinite: an infinitive or gerund clause

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Alcatraz – The Early Years

Alcatraz
 

 

Read the Context

In August 1775, explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala noticed three small islands, one of which was rocky, and steep. He sailed the first ship into the bay of San Francisco.

Pelicans were flying in circles and diving for fish. The pelicans were nesting on the side of the island.

Juan de Ayala named the island "La Isla de los alcatraces" (Island of Pelicans). He charted San Francisco Bay.

In the 1853, the military needed a strategic site in the bay. The military selected Alcatraz as a garrison to guard the entrance to the bay.

Alcatraz was in the ideal location . Alcatraz was turned into a military fortification with a lighthouse.

The residents needed water considered laying a pipeline from the mainland. Later, they decided that it would be too difficult.

Daily shipments carried water to the island. Daily shipments arrived from the mainland to fill the water cisterns.

The garrison was used to confine military prisoners during and after the Civil War on. The garrison included a prison. 

In October 1933 the Justice Department prepared a statement. It said that it had completed arrangements to take over the military prison. They would be turning it into a maximum security prison.

By 1934, changes to the cell block were completed. The changes made it the most secure facility in the country.

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AlcatrazHistory.com 
"Alcatraz Island." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 20 May. 2013. Web. 20 May. 2013. 

cell block – main building with individual cells (rooms with bars) where prisoners are confined (kept)

chart (v.) – make a map for an area

confine (v.) – keep, enclose inside

garrison (n.) – a body of troops stationed in a fortified place

facility (n.) – something designed and built to serve a specific function (e.g., transportation, educational, research, correctional)

fortification (n.) – secure, walled and protected area, usually with cannons or other large gun power

residents (n.) – people living in a location

shipment (n.) – goods (water or fuel) carried by ship; cargo

strategic (adj.) – important in war or defense planning

 

 

 

 

Select the correct verb form for the modifying clause.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or the "check 1-10" button at the bottom.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Alcatraz – Prison Years

cells
 

 

Read the Context

Alcatraz Island served as a Federal prison from 1934 to 1963. It is located in San Francisco Bay.

Alcatraz housed several infamous criminals. They were serving time.

Robert Stroud spent 17 years on "the rock". He was known as the "Birdman of Alcatraz".

Al Capone continued running his rackets from behind bars by buying off guards. He arrived in 1934.

Prisoners knew that escape from the island was impossible. They were held in Alcatraz.

Prisoners attempted to escape. But they were either caught, shot or drowned in the bay.

The prison became old and too expensive to operate. The prison was closed in 1963.

In 1969, Native Americans claimed the island as theirs. The Native Americans were peacefully moved off the island.

The Native Americans held their protest "on the rock". They had received enough public support to renegotiate their treaty with the U.S.

Currently, Alcatraz island serves as a cultural center, tourist destination and site for filming movies. The island is designated as a National Historical Landmark.

designate (v.) – indicate, specify, mark, point out

orientation (n.) � a welcome talk and description of offerings

racket (n.) illegal operations; behind bars, in prison

racketeering � a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, especially in organized crime (e.g. "protection")

renegotiate (v.) – make a new deal or bargain

treaty (n.) – agreement between nations

AlcatrazHistory.com  "HIstory of the Rock"

National Historic Landmark Program

 

 

 

 

 

Decide whether the reduced clause should use the past or the present participle.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or the "check 11-20" button at the bottom.

 

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

19.

20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Alcatraz – Today

visitors

 

 

 

Read the Context

Today, people can visit the Alcatraz island. People want to visit Alcatraz Island.

Visitors are ferried to the island by boat. Visitors are given a brief orientation by the National Park representative.

Tours are self-guided audio tours. The tours allow visitors to choose where they want to go.

Most tourist want to see the cell block where Al "Scarface" Capone was kept. Most tourists are influenced by Hollywood movies.

Prisoners included  George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Arthur “Doc” Barker, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis (Ma Barker Gang), and “Bumpy” Johnson (the Godfather of Harlem). Prisoners were often known by nicknames.

 

Robert “Birdman” Stroud was the subject of the film Bird Man of Alcatraz with Burt Lancaster. He is described as a homicidal sociopath.

Tours are offered to visitors. The tours are recorded on audio devices. The visitors want to learn about nature on the island

The island is home to thousands of birds. They are nesting on the hillsides of the island.

Some visitors prefer a night tour to get a more realistic feeling of what it was like to be imprisoned on the island.  The island usually is surrounded by fog.

Numerous development plans have been rejected. The plans include a resort hotel. Alcatraz is currently under the protection of the National Park Service.

ferry (v.) – go by boat service, usually short-distance trips

homicidal-sociopath – a killer who has no sense of moral responsibility or social conscience; a crazy murderer

influenced (adj.) � under the effect of something

Golden Gate National Recreation Area � "Alcatraz Island"

National Park Service "Alcatraz� Things To Do"

 

 

 

 

 

Combine the sentences using a reduced modifying clause.

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or the "check 21-30" button at the bottom.

 

21.
Today, people can visit the Alcatraz island. People want to visit Alcatraz Island.


22.
Visitors are ferried to the island by boat. Visitors are given a brief orientation by the National Park representative.


23.
Tours are self-guided with audio devices. The tours allow visitors to choose where they want to go.


24.
Most tourists want to see the cell block where Al "Scarface" Capone was kept. Most tourists are influenced by Hollywood movies.


25.
Prisoners included George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Arthur “Doc” Barker, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis (Ma Barker Gang), and “Bumpy” Johnson (the Godfather of Harlem). Prisoners were often known by nicknames.


26.
Robert “Birdman” Stroud was the subject of the film Bird Man of Alcatraz with Burt Lancaster. He is described as a homicidal sociopath.  (crazy and a killer)


27.
Tours are offered to visitors. The tours are recorded on audio devices. The visitors want to learn about nature on the island


28.
The island is home to thousands of birds. They are nesting on the sides of the island.


29.
Some visitors prefer a night tour to get a more realistic feeling of what it was like to be imprisoned on the island.  The island usually is surrounded by fog.


30.
Numerous development plans have been rejected. The plans include a resort hotel. Alcatraz is currently under the protection of the National Park Service.