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Hi,
I was wondering about present participles, in the structures presented in the following examples:

1. Cleaning the house, I found this old book. (=While cleaning: Time)

2. Working late, I can't follow that program on channel 5. (=Since I work late: Reason)
3. Wrting as fast as I could, I wrote her a love letter. (= Manner)

4. (By?) Practicing a lot, every learner can improve very quickly. (= Means/Method)

I can't think of any other way to use present participles in such structures. So I have a couple of questions:

1) Do those examples and their classification make sense?
2) Is "by" mandatory in sentences like #4 where the participle refers to a method/means?

Thank you.
Comments  
KooyeenI can't think of any other way to use present participles in such structures.
It seems to me that there should be more. Your examples and classifications make sense to me. It is not mandatory to use by in sentences like 4.

CJ
Hi Kooyeen

Look at this. You might be interested.

http://www.english-test.net/forum/ftopic13648.html

Tom
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Thanks.

I just took a look in a grammar book and yes, participle clauses are used in lots of different ways, and not just in those four ways. However, it's not a problem for me, because in Italian we use participle clauses in exactly the same way (or so it seems). The problem is "by", used to indicate the method.
Can anyone think of any examples where "by" is necessary or recommended, in the structure by + present participle?
KooyeenCan anyone think of any examples where "by" is necessary or recommended, in the structure by + present participle?

To me, "by" is pretty much necessary in your original sentence #4, and in other similar cases that come to mind, in order to get the correct sense. To me, "Practicing a lot, every learner can improve very quickly" seems odd and sort of suggests that every learner is practising a lot, which is unlikely to be true or knowable. I see CJ thinks differently though, so I could be in a minority on this one.
Mr WordyI see CJ thinks differently though, so I could be in a minority on this one.
Hee! No, I do not necessarily speak for or represent the majority on matters grammatical! Emotion: smile

I just did a post the other day, however, where the "by" was not used in a sample sentence that the student had found somewhere, and it did seem OK to me, so I concluded that that "by" is not always used or needed in that sort of structure. I'll try to find it and post it here.

_____________

Later: It turns out not to be an obvious case of what I was talking about. I seem to have misremembered the example:

What a fool she was falling for him all over again.

What a fool she was, (~ she showed herself to be by) falling for him all over again.
Falling for him all over again, she showed what a fool she was.

Is this a case (last sentence) where "by" can be included or omitted?
It might not be a great example of "means/method" either.

CJ
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CalifJim
Falling for him all over again, she showed what a fool she was.

Is this a case (last sentence) where "by" can be included or omitted?


To me, this is OK without "by" -- I think because she actually did fall for him all over again. The OP's original example seems more of a hypothetical.
Mr WordyTo me, "Practicing a lot, every learner can improve very quickly" seems odd and sort of suggests that every learner is practising a lot, which is unlikely to be true or knowable.

For what it's worth, I think this is a very logical and reasonable explanation of what's going on. Using 'by' here makes sense.