Participle Phrase Recognition Practice

Definition: A participle phrase consists of a participle and its accompanying words.  The whole phrase will modify a noun or pronoun.  The accompanying words can be: prepositional phrase(s), adverbs, and a direct object.  If you need help with what a participle is, go to the sheet entitled: Participle Recognition Practice.


Sitting in his office, the President called the Vice-president.

  •  Sitting in his office is a participial phrase that modifies the noun, President.  In his office is a prepositional phrase modifying the participle, sitting, and answers the question, "where sitting?".  Thus, it is an adverb prepositional phrase.

Fearing failure, the student was very anxious about the test.

  •  Fearing failure is the participial phrase modifying studentFailure is the direct object of the participle, fearing, and answers the question, "fearing what?"

Jen, waving good-bye, drove away.

  •  Waving good-bye is the participial phrase modifying Jen.  Good-bye is a direct object of the participle, waving.

Bill, steadily gaining confidence, was able to parallel park the car.

Steadily gaining confidence is the participial phrase modifying BillSteadily is an adverb, modifying the participle, gainingConfidence is the direct object of the participle.

Exercise Directions: Find the participial phrases in the following sentences.  Write down the participial phrase and then give the noun or pronoun it modifies.

1. Working in the lab, the scientist created a robot.
2. Early films were still pictures projected on a wall.
3. Moving pictures came later.
4. Food sealed in cans was given to the campers.
5. Quickly frozen food is necessary to preserve the freshness.
6. Coming into the room, the boy threw his books on the desk.
7. Joe, searching for the code, was really excited.
8. The store sold packaged bakery.
9. Pork and beans canned in tomato sauce is my favorite.
10. Relaxing on his back patio, Jeff fell asleep.

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