Participles and Participial Phrases

Verbals of all types can enhance our writing by bringing concrete description to our sentences. This Style Academy video will walk you through one verbal (participles), how published authors use them, and how to incorporate them into your own writing. You may find the exercises linked here to be helpful in practicing this concept.

Embedded Exercises (Download and print out–or open and edit in Word–this handout to accompany the exercises on the video.)

Additional Mentor Texts (Use these models of participles to broaden your understanding of the rhetorical uses of this feature.)

  • Drawn to the promise of higher pay and less confining hours, they abandoned legitimate posts to take up the shovel and sack. (Mary Roach, Stiff)
  • The plant’s windows were covered with black paint, blocking light from escaping and making the building nearly invisible to enemy bombers. (Steven Sheinkin, Bomb)
  • Tying Watch Eyes to a tree, Maureen wandered about the grounds, waiting for the chief. (Marguerite Henry, Misty of Chincoteague)
  • Frustrated legislators mill and murmur in the lobby, awaiting the bell that will call them to their chambers for yet another round of anguished debate. (Andrew Romano, “Last of The True Believers?” Newsweek, 4 May 2009)
  • Then they set out upon the road again, slumped and cowled and shivering in their rags like mendicant friars sent forth to find their keep. (Cormac McCarthy, The Road)
  • A breeze, carrying with it the fresh scent of spring, caused the flowers to flutter and dance. (Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair)
  • Looking back on it now, I think the foundation for what happened in the winter of 1975 and all that followed was already laid in those first words. (Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner)