What do Participles Modify? A Basic Guide

A participle is a verb form that expresses an action…

A participle is a verb form that expresses an action or a state of being. It functions as a modifier and plays a role similar to an adjective. So, the question is, what do participles modify? Participles modify or provide further information about the noun, pronoun or a noun phrase in a sentence.

What Are Participles?

Participles are a verb form that is adjectival in nature and acts as a modifier. They generally describe the subject or objects of the sentence. They can also be called verbal adjectives or verbal clauses.

A participle is an adjective-like word that combines with a form of the verb to modify nouns and pronouns. While a present participle expresses a current action or state of being, a past participle describes a past action.

Participles Vs Participial Phrases

Participles are verbs that function as an adjective to modify the subject in a sentence. They most often end in -ing or -ed and modify nouns and pronouns.

On the other hand, a participial phrase is a group of words consisting of a participle, modifier and, pronoun or noun phrases. Typically, a participial phrase forms when other words are added to a participle. Participles and participial phrases function as adjectives in sentences.

What do Participles Modify?

Most often, participles modify nouns or pronouns but can also modify verbs. A participle typically precedes the noun or pronoun it modifies.

Participles must be placed close to the nouns or pronouns they modify to clearly convey the intended meaning. Participles that are far from the word they modify appear to modify a different part of a sentence and result in misplaced participle.

Sometimes, the noun to be modified is mistakenly left out of the sentence, resulting in a dangling participle. This means that the participle is trailing in a sentence without an understandable link and modifies nothing. Dangling and misplaced modifiers are peculiar with unclear, incoherent, or unmemorable writing and should be avoided.

Present participle as Modifier

A present participle is a verb form with a similar function as an adjective. It is made up of the present tense of a verb stem and the -ing ending and modifies a noun or noun phrase. Examples of present participles include: running, jumping and crying.

As a modifier, a present participle will typically describe or provide more information about the noun/subject of the sentence. Some examples of present participle as a modifier in sentences are:

  • Jerry put on his running shoes (the present participle ‘running‘ modifies the noun ‘shoes.’)
  • The math teacher gifted me a coloring book (the present participle coloring provides more information about the noun ‘book.’)
  • I gave a snack to the crying little boy (the present participle crying describes the noun ‘little boy.’).

Past participle as Modifier

A past participle is a verb form that typically ends in -ed. Past participle verbs are often adjectives or adverbial adjuncts (e.g., sat, was, or went). In English, the most common part participles are: walked, spoken, gone, and fallen.

Examples of Past Participle as Modifier in Sentences

  • The fallen tree hindered the movement of cars (The past participle fallen modifies the noun ‘tree.’)
  • The spoilt food was given to the dogs (The past participle spoilt modifies the noun ‘food.’)
person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug
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To Wrap Up

Participles are a type of verb form that convey action. They typically play the role of adjectives and modify nouns or noun phrases in sentences.

They are essential as they provide the reader with detailed information about the noun or pronouns in the sentence. Learning how to use participles properly can improve your writing in no time.

Frequently asked questions

How important is participle?

You can see that participants in English are more common than you may have thought. Besides building continuous and perfect tenses, they can also form many other sentences where they can function as adjectives, adverbs, or adjectival phrases.

How do you identify a participle phrase?

When you find one, recognize the participle phrase. Participle phrases begin with present or past parts. The participle will most likely end in death. As well, a regular past participle will equal a consistent expression. Past participations in irregular groups, unfortunately, end in all sorts of ways.

Do participles modify verbs?

Participle phrases can include the subject (which it modifies often) or complements (or both) of the verb from which it originates.

How do you use participles?

Participle phrases can be used to modify nouns and noun equivalents, just like adjectives. Participle phrases are usually placed closest to the noun they are modifying so as not to confuse them. Her search included a red cowboy hat, for example.

What is a participle example?

A verb always contains the suffix -ing for the present participle. This participle forms a compound verb when used with an auxiliary verb like “is,” “am,” “are,” “was,” or “were” that describes an action in progress. Babysitting is one such example. The song I am singing is an unexpected one.

What are the three types of participles?

Participles in English are divided into three types: the present participle, the past participple and the perfect participelple. Tenses and adjective forms are probably familiar to you.

What is participle and its types?

The participle is a verb form employed either (1) as an adjective, (2) as a source of verb tense, or (3) as receptive to passive language. Present participle (ending -ing) Past participel (usually ending -ed, -d, “t-t”, -en, or -n).

Do participles modify nouns?

Past participles and present participle can be modifiers of nouns. It is possible to modify these parts of the text by adverbs, as shown in the following example. The present participle is a verb that ends in -ing, and may be used to modify nouns. A modifier usually comes before a noun.

What does a participle modify?

Participles are verbal words based off of verbs that express the state of being, ending with -ing (present tense) or -en, -d, t, n, or . This means that it is necessary to describe a noun or pronoun.

How do you know what a participle is modifying?

  • You will find a participle with the following verbal ending: -ing and -ed (these are the most common participline endings), -en, -t, n, d.
  • This participle may have an equivalent meaning if it’s modifying a noun or noun phrase.

Which of these is an example of a participle as a modifier?

broken (glass)exploded (fireworks)
boiled (milk)frozen (water)
brewed (coffee)grown (children)
changed (man)loved (person)

Why is it called participle?

Participle is an acronym for sharing, participation or sharing, and is found in classical Latin participium, from particpes, because it shares certain properties with verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. ‘Participation, participle’ is a calque in Greek grammatical terms.

What is a participle phrase in grammar?

I refer to a participle phrase as an adjective phrase headed by a punctic character.

What is a participle modifying the incorrect noun?

An adjective that is unintentionally altering a noun in a sentence is a dangling participle in grammar. As an example, if you walk through the kitchen, the smoke alarm will go off.

What are the 4 participles?

A number of forms of passive expression are used – present active, future active, perfect passive and future passive.

What do Participles Modify? A Basic Guide

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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