- Participles are based on verbs and express an action or a state of being.
- The participle, modifier(s), and the (pro)noun that the participle modifies form the participial phrase.
- Participial phrases are used as adjectives to describe (modify) nouns or pronouns.
- Present participles end with -ing. (e.g. swimming)
- Past participles end with -ed, -en, -d, -t, -n, or -ne. (e.g. walked, eaten, craved, dealt, seen, gone)
- Present participle:
Ex: "We are going to the swimming pool."
Here, ‘swimming’ modifies the noun ‘pool.’
- Past participle:
Ex: After the crime, Mark was a wanted man.
Here, ‘wanted’ modifies the noun ‘man.’
- Participial phrase:
Ex: Seeing the violence on the basketball court, Jimmy stayed on the swings.
Here the participle object prepositional phrase (modifier) clause being modified by the participial phrase
- If your sentence begins with a participial phrase, it should be followed by a comma.
Ex: Watching a scary movie, Jill felt the need to get up and turn on the lights.
- If a participial phrase is in the midst of a sentence, it should be surrounded by commas only if it is non-essential information.
- Essential Information:
Ex: The boy wearing the red shirt is Jerry.
- Non-Essential Information:
Ex: Jerry, seeing the teacher turn her back, threw a spitball.
- If a participial phrase is at the end of a sentence, it should be preceded by a comma only if it modifies a noun that is not directly before the participial phrase.
Ex: The teacher often saw Jerry throwing spitballs.
(The participial phrase modifies ‘Jerry’)
Ex: The cook was seen by the man, making pizza.
(The participial phrase modifies ‘the cook’)
Note: Although participles are based on verbs, they are not treated as verbs in a sentence.
Ex: My father's walking stick is made of oak.