An Adjectival Phrase

An Adjectival Phrase :

Hearing the sound, the man came out.

The word HEARING qualifies the noun MAN as an Adjective does. It is formed from the verb HEAR and governs an object. So, the word HEARING partakes of the nature of both a verb and adjective and is called a participle. A participle is a word which does the function of both a verb and an adjective.

Hearing the sound is a phrase. It is called a Participle Phrase.

Here, it does the work of an adjectival phrase.

Study the following examples of participles.

1. We met a woman, carrying a basket.
2. Ringing the door bell, he asked for admission.
3. The boatman, thinking all was safe, tried to cross the flooded river.
4. Who is the man, talking to Miss Mary?
5. Deeply shocked, I decided never to speak to her again.

Analysis :

Carrying a basket - Participle Phrase.
Carrying - Present participle qualifies "woman"
a basket - object of "carrying"

Ringing the door bell - Participle Phrase.
Ringing - Present participle qualifies "he"
The door bell - object of "ringing"

Thinking – Participle - qualifies "The boat man"
"all was safe" - Noun clause object of "thinking"

talking - present participle - qualifies "the man"

Deeply shocked - (past) participle phrase
shocked - past participle - qualifies "I"
Deeply - adverb - modifies "shocked"

Participles cannot always be used as adjectives before nouns. When a participle is placed before a noun, it expresses some permanent characteristic of the noun. It is more like an adjective than a verb.

An interesting book…

Here, "interesting" is present participle and qualifies "the book".

It gives to understand, the book will interest any and everyone. It indicates more or less a permanent characteristic of the book.

'Screaming children" - children who always scream
Did you hear that child screaming?
Here, "screaming" indicates a single action of the child.

Study the following.

1. The only place left - the only place that was left
2. The men taking part - the men who were taking part
3. The people concerned - the people who were affected
4. The solution adopted - the solution that was agreed upon
5. Those taking part - Those people who were taking part
6. A spent swimmer - a swimmer who is exhausted
7. A burnt child - a child that is burnt
8. A painted picture - a picture that is painted
9. A rolling stone - a stone that rolls
10. A sparkling water - water that sparkles
11. A creaking door - a door that creaks

An Adjectival Phrase

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The Grammar Index

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