A participial phrase is used in the same way that an adjective is used, but because it’s a phrase, it has more than one word in it. Participial phrases begin with a past participle or a present participle.
The sentence below includes an example of a participial phrase that begins with the verb "talk."
The man talking on the phone is angry.
In this sentence, "talking on the phone" is the participial phrase. This phrase describes the man, or the word "man." The subject in this sentence is "man" and the verb that matches the subject is "is."
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A participial phrase begins with either a past participle or a present participle. It’s important for students to realize that these participles are not functioning as verb but as adjectives.
Look at these three sentences:
1. The man is talking on the phone.
2. Talking on the phone is something that he doesn’t like to do.
3. The man talking on the phone is angry.
In the first sentence, the verb "talk" is in the present continuous tense. In the second sentence, the word "talking"is a gerund. In the third sentence, "talking" is a present participle that begins a phrase
Let’s look at three more sentences.
1. A fire ruined the house.
2. The house is ruined.
3. Neighbors helped rebuild the house ruined by the fire.
Try this exercise:
Directions: Combine the sentences below to create one sentence that includes a participial phrase:
1. The girl is singing. She’s wearing a blue dress.
2. Sarah wrote a letter. In her letter, she was complaining about a building project near her house.
3. Mike bought some shoes. They were made in Minnesota.
4. Rescuers were able to find the people. They were stranded on an island.
5. The music was from the 1960s. It was played at the party.
The answers are below.
1. The girl wearing a blue dress is singing.
2. Sarah wrote a letter complaining about a building project near her house.
3. Mike bought some shoes made in Minnesota.
4. Rescuers were able to find the people stranded on an island.
5. The music played at the party was from the 1960s.