Participles are words that are formed from verbs but act as adjectives. You could say that they have identity issues.
Words that are formed from verbs but don't act as verbs are called verbals.
They act as adjectives, and they end in -ing, -d, -t, or -n.
Adjectives are words that describe nouns and pronouns.
Here are some examples. Notice that each one is made of a verb but is modifying a noun.
shooting star (shoot = verb)
crying babies (cry = verb)
frozen food (froze = verb)
burned toast (burn = verb)
Since these guys act as adjectives, they are diagrammed in a very similar way to how adjectives are diagrammed.
It's easy to see that they modify nouns and pronouns because they are diagrammed on a slanted, curved line underneath the noun or pronoun that they modify.
The filtered water tastes delicious.
Participial phrases consist of a participle along with all of its modifiers and complements.
Here are three examples. Notice that each phrase is modifying a noun.
Babies crying in the night bother me.
Food frozen for over five years tastes icky.
Burned on each side, the toast was inedible.
When diagramming these, start by identifying the participle and the noun that it is modifying.
You already know that you diagram it by putting it on curved, slanted line under the noun that it modifies.
After that, find out what the rest of the phrase consists of and diagram it accordingly.
I'll walk you through the steps using this sentence:
Throwing rocks across the water, my friend smiled.
This is where your other grammar knowledge comes into play.
This prepositional phrase is modifying throwing. That means that we diagram the prepositional phrase underneath throwing.
Diagram rocks as if throwing is a normal verb.
Learn more diagramming, and become more awesome by checking out these English grammar exercises.
When a participial phrase doesn't have a noun or pronoun to modify, it dangles. This is called dangling participle. Click on that link to learn more!
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