A group of related words that does not have a subject and a verb functioning as a single part of speech is called a phrase. A participial phrase is composed of a group of words with a participle together with all its modifiers and complements. In the following examples, a noun is modified by each of the phrases.
|Children studying until late at night inspire me.||
Customer requests unattended for a long time go to the archive folder.
|Damaged from cover to cover, the book was unreadable.|
The participial phrase is studying until late at night.
|The participial phrase is unattended for a long time.||
The participial phrase is damaged from cover to cover.
|It modifies the noun children.||
It modifies the noun customer requests.
|It modifies the noun book.|
How to Diagram Participial Phrases
The first step is to determine the participle and the noun it intends to modify.
Then put the participle on a bent, slanted line right under the noun it intends to modify.
Determine the rest of the phrases and diagram it correspondingly.
Here are the step by step procedure using this example sentence:
Smelling flowers at the garden, Jane sneezed.
Step 1: Find the participle. (smelling)
Step 2: Determine the noun it modifies. ( Jane)
Step 3: Determine the rest of the phrase. ( flowers at the garden)
Step 4: Find out what the rest of the phrase is doing.
At this stage, your grammar knowledge will be put into test.
In the process of diagramming this sentence, you need to know that flowers is a direct object and at the garden is a prepositional phrase. This prepositional phrase is modifying smelling. As a result, we diagram the prepositional phrase underneath smelling.
When there isn’t a noun or pronoun to modify, the participial phrase dangles. It is called a dangling participle.