gramática

Participle Clauses (cláusulas absolutas)

In English, participle clauses can be used to avoid repetition of the subject and say things in a more economical way, either with the present participle, e.g. 'wanting to make a good impression, John bought everyone a drink'; the past participle, e.g. 'surrounded by the enemy, the soldiers surrendered.'; or the perfect participle, e.g. ' having washed the car, I took it for a drive'. In Spanish these are called cláusulas absolutas de participio y gerundio.1

 

1) They are used to express a causal, concessive or temporal relationship between the two clauses: 'queriendo causar buena impresión, Juan invitó a todo el mundo' = 'Juan invitó a todo el mundo porque quería causar buena impresión'; 'terminado el discurso, el Rey se despidió de sus invitados' = 'cuando el discurso se había terminado, el Rey se despidió de sus invitados'.2

"Cláusula absoluta: Aquella en la que se unen directamente, sin la presencia de un verbo en forma personal, un sujeto y un elemento predicativo, normalmente un participio, pero también un gerundio, un adjetivo e incluso un adverbio o un grupo preposicional, y que equivale a una oración subordinada adverbial, casi siempre de significado temporal". RAE

 

2) In some cases these constructions can be translated directly using the English participle clause. An important difference, though, is that in English the participle clause is generally only used when the subject is the same for both verbs (concertado), while in Spanish the subject is often different (no concertado).

-Terminado el trabajo, fuimos a casa — Having finished the assignment, we went home

-Llegado el momento, salimos todos a la vez — When the time came, we all ran out at once

-Descubierta la trama, la policía actuó rápido — Having uncovered the plot, the police acted quickly 

-Leído el discurso, el presidente se despidió de sus invitados — After the speech had been read, the president bid farewell to his guests [we don't know who read the speech here]

 

-Visto lo que pasó entre tú y él, prefiero no seguir con esto — In light of what happened between you and him, I'd rather not carry on with this [temporal and causal - see visto lo visto]

-Es una ciudad preciosa. Dicho esto, no recomiendo que vayas solo — It's a beautiful city. Having said that / That said, I don't recommend you go alone [temporal and concessive - see dicho esto

 

-Una vez empezado el discurso, me daba cosa pararlo — With the speech already underway/ Once the speech was underway, I was reluctant to stop it [See una vez participio]

 

-Seis años después de aprobado el proyecto, seguíamos esperando los fondos — Six years after the project was approved, we were still waiting for the funds to come through

→Seis años después de haberse aprobado...

 

3) Using the gerund indicates simultaneous events, conditions, or concessions –read more.3

-Estando tú allí, no se atrevió a pegarme — With you being there, he didn't dare hit me [temporal and causal; no concertado]

 

-Viviendo yo en París, viajabas por Europa — While I was living in Paris, you were travelling through Europe [temporal]

-Queriendo causar buena impresión, invitó a todo el mundo — Wanting to make a good impression, he paid for everyone's drinks [causal; concertado]

 

-Sabiendo informática, encontrarás trabajo seguro — With you knowing computing, you're bound to find work [conditional, causal, temporal]

-Colaborando todos, lo conseguiremos — By collaborating together, we'll manage it [conditional, causal]

 

-Aun teniendo experiencia, no consiguió trabajo — Even though he had experience, he didn't get the job [concession]

 

4) Using perfect participle clauses (gerundio compuesto) indicates that the event happened before that in the main clause. Once again, Spanish can use different subjects in both clauses while in English the subjects are the same - one way to get around this is by using 'with' or by rewording the sentence.

-Habiendo terminado el trabajo, se fueron del despacho Having finished the assignment, they left the office [temporal and possibly causal; concertado]

-Habiendo muerto sus padres, el niño tuvo que buscarse la vida With his parents having died, the boy had to fend for himself; Since his parents had died, the boy had to fend for himself [no concertado]

 

5) Cláusulas absolutas can also be formed with adjectives or adverbs.

-Una vez lleno, vamos a sacarle caldo — Once it's full, we're going to take out some stock

-Ya en Madrid, llamé a mi mujer — Once I was in Madrid, I called my wife

-Contento el muchacho con sus cualificaciones, su padre le compró un ordenador nuevo — Seeing as the boy was happy with his grades, his father bought him a new computer

-Aceptó la oferta, consciente de que podía salir mal — He accepted the offer, aware of the fact that it could turn out badly [concessive]

 

En La Prensa

Una vez hecha la cocción, retirar las carnes y reservar. Retirar los garbanzos y reservar. Poner a reducir el caldo resultante. RTVE-Apr 27, 2017

Una vez enredados y en un descanso del mete-saca, el muy tirano aprovechó un momento de despiste por mi parte para deslizar con sigilo el condón por su miembro viril hasta quedarse en bolas. 20 MinutosApr 26, 2017

Llegado el momento, el delegado de Nicaragua se retiró de la sesión del Consejo Permanente, acompañando al embajador de Venezuela. Confidencial-Apr 7, 2017

 

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