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The tense distinctions of the participle

Like the tense distinctions of all the verbals, those of the participle are not absolute but relative.

Participle I Indefinite Active and Passive usually denotes an action simultaneous with the action expressed by the finite verb; depending oh the tense-form of the finite verb it may refer to the present, past, or future.

When reading The Pickwick Papers,one can’t help laughing.

When reading The Pickwick Papers,I couldn’t help laughing.

When reading The Pickwick Papers, you will roar with laughter.

He looked at the carpet while waiting for her answer. (Galsworthy)

Он смотрел на ковер, ожидая ее ответа.

Не returned to the hut, bringing in his arms a new-born lamb. (Hardy)

Он вернулся в хижину, неся на руках новорожденного ягненка.

Not being able to read, think, or work, Bathsheba asked Liddy to stay and

breakfast with her. (Hardy)

Так как Батшеба не была в состоянии (не будучи в состоянии) ни читать,

ни думать, ни работать, она попросила Лидди остаться позавтракать с


Being left alone, Pauline and I kept silence for some time. (Ch. Bronte)

Оставшись одни, мы с Полиной некоторое время молчали.

She did not speak, being filled with the sense of silent confidence. (Eliot)

Она не сказала ни слова; ее переполняло чувство доверия, не

нуждавшееся в словах.

Sometimes Participle I Indefinite denotes an action referring to no particular time.

The last turning had brought them into the high-road leading to Bath. (Hardy)

После последнего поворота они вышли на дорогу, ведущую (которая

вела) в Бат.

Participle I Perfect Active and Passive denotes an action prior to the action expressed by the finite verb.

Mr. Bumble, having spread a handkerchief over his knees... began to eat and

drink. (Dickens)

Мистер Бамбл, разостлав платок на коленях..., стал есть и пить.

They were, indeed, old friends, having been at school together. (Walpole)

Они и в самом деле были старыми друзьями, так как вместе учились в


Having already been informed that he always slept with a light in the room, I

placed one of the two lighted candles on a little table at the head of the bed...


Так как мне уже сообщили, что он всегда спит при свете, я поставил

одну из двух зажженных свечей на столик у кровати.

It should be noted that a prior action is not always expressed by Participle I Perfect: with some verbs of sense perception and motion, such as to see, to hear, to come, to arrive, to seize, to look, to turn and some others, Participle I Indefinite is used even when priority is meant.

Turning down an obscure street and entering an obscurer lane, he went up to

a smith’s shop. (Hardy)

Свернув на темную улицу и войдя в еще более темный переулок, он

подошел к кузнице.

Hearing a footstep below he rose and went to the top of the stairs. (Hardy)

Услышав шаги внизу, он встал и вышел на лестницу.

Participle II has no tense distinctions; it has only one form which can express both an action simultaneous with, and prior to the action expressed by the finite verb; the latter case is more frequent.

His sister’s eyes fixed on him with a certain astonishment, obliged him at last

to look at Fleur. (Galsworthy)

Взгляд сестры, устремленный на него с некоторым недоумением,

заставил его, наконец, взглянуть на Флер.

I was reminded of a portrait seen in a gallery. (Du Maulier)

Мне вспомнился портрет, который я видела в картинной галерее.

In some cases Participle II denotes an action referring to no particular time.

He is a man loved and admired by everybody.

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