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Verbal Phrases. Adding Variety to Your Writing. NEC FACET Center. Have you ever felt as if your writing is monotonous and dull?. If so, bring it to life by varying your sentence structure. Try Using These Special Phrases. Participle Phrases. Gerund Phrases. Infinitive Phrases.

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adding variety to your writing

Verbal Phrases

Adding Variety to Your Writing

NEC FACET Center

try using these special phrases
Try Using These Special Phrases

Participle

Phrases

Gerund

Phrases

Infinitive Phrases

slide5

What is a

gerund?

important definition
ImportantDefinition

Strange . . .

It looks like a verb, but it acts like a noun.

  • A gerund is the -ing form of a verb functioning in the sentence as a noun.
gerunds as subjects
Some gerunds function as the subject of the sentence.

The subject identifies who or what the sentence is about.

Painting is Jim’s favorite hobby.

Gardening keeps Aunt Ruth busy for hours.

Gerunds as Subjects
gerunds as direct objects
Gerunds as Direct Objects

Direct objects follow the verb and identify the receiver of the action.

  • My entire family likes bowling. (The verb is likes. Bowling tells what the family likes.)
  • The dirty floor required mopping. (The verb is required. Mopping tells what the dirty floor required.)
gerunds as objects of the preposition
Gerunds as Objects of the Preposition
  • Will Rogers was famous for roping. (Roping follows the preposition for and identifies a cause of his fame.)
  • Derek finished work before skateboarding. (Skateboarding follows the preposition before.)
common prepositions
above

about

across

among

around

at

before

below, beneath

beside

between

by

for

from

in, into, inside

of

off

over

through

to, toward

under

upon

with

Common Prepositions
gerund phrases as subjects
Gerund Phrases as Subjects
  • Singing with a country band occupies most of my brother’s weekend.
  • Crying at the top of his lungs generally got little Joey what he wanted.
gerund phrases as objects
Gerund Phrases as Objects
  • Herrmann the Great demonstrated making a rabbit appear from an empty hat.
  • For our final few minutes at Frontier City, we chose riding the roller coaster.
gerund phrases as objects of the preposition
Gerund Phrases as Objects of the Preposition
  • David enjoys the ancient Japanese art ofraising bonsai trees.
  • Have you ever tried relaxing bywatching tropical fish?
identify the gerund phrase
Identify the Gerund Phrase
  • Hitting a grand slam homerun enabled Raphael to win the game for his team.
  • Charles was ready for a quiet evening at home after flying a rescue mission in the mountains.
gerund phrase identified
Gerund Phrase Identified
  • Hitting a grand slam homerun enabled Raphael to win the game for his team. (subject)
  • Charles was ready for a quiet evening at home after flying a rescue mission in the mountains. (object of the preposition after)
identify the gerund phrases
Identify the Gerund Phrases
  • Steve succeeded in climbing the mountain.
  • When the director finished yelling at the production crew, he felt much better.
identify the gerund phrases17
Identify the Gerund Phrases
  • Steve succeeded at climbing the mountain. (object of the preposition at)
  • When the director finished yelling at the production crew, he felt much better. (object of the verb finished, telling what he finished.)
identify the gerund phrases18
Identify the Gerund Phrases
  • Yelling at the production crew made the director feel much better.
identify the gerund phrases19
Identify the Gerund Phrases
  • Yelling at the production crew made the director feel much better. (subject telling what made Jack feel better)
slide20

What is a

participle?

important definition21
ImportantDefinition

Strange . . .

It looks like a verb, but it acts like an adjective.

  • A participle is a verb form used as an adjective (a descriptive word).
present past participles
Present & Past Participles
  • Present participles end in -ing.
  • Past participles end in -ed or have irregular endings.

Remember this:

examples
Thelaughingchild held up herbrimmingpiggy bank.

With acramped leg, thescreamingboy waded out of the pool.

Notice that each of these -ing or -ed words acts as an adjective by describing another word.

Laughing describes child.

Brimming describes the bank.

Cramped describes leg.

Screaming describes boy.

Examples
identify the descriptive participles
Outside the Halloween spook house, dozens of grinning skeletons greeted the visitors.

Tired, I spilled the steaming coffee.

Identify the Descriptive Participles
descriptive participles identified
Descriptive Participles Identified
  • Outside the Halloween spook house, dozens ofgrinningskeletons greeted the visitors.
  • Tired, I spilled thesteamingcoffee.
identify the descriptive participles26
Identify the Descriptive Participles
  • After the torrential rain, I returned home to a flooded basement.
  • I read the gripping spy novel until 2:00 a.m.
irregular participles
Irregular Participles
  • Although most participles end in -ing and -ed, some are irregular. To identify the verbs with irregular participles, think of the form correctly used with the helping verbs have, has, and had.
  • Example: Built to last, the great pyramids of Egypt may be around for the next millenium.
slide28
Built to last, the great pyramids of Egypt may be around for the next millenium.
  • Notice that the phrase “built to last” works as an adjective to describe the word pyramids; therefore, it is a participial phrase.
  • However, you’ll see that the participle form, in this case, doesn’t end in -ed or -ing.
slide29
To indicate past tense, as in the following sentence, we don’t say builded: The two children builded an elaborate sand castle.
  • Instead, we would write “The two children built an elaborate sandcastle.”
  • This is one of many irregular verbs.
descriptive participles identified30
Descriptive Participles Identified
  • After the torrential rain, I returned home to a floodedbasement.
  • I read the gripping spy novel until 2:00 a.m.
participial phrases
Participial Phrases
  • You have seen several examples of single word participles ending with -ing and -ed.
  • Some participles do not appear alone, but instead as the first word of a phrase.
  • This phrase still serves as an adjective and, therefore, describes a noun.
how to identify the correct past participle form
How to Identify the Correct Past Participle Form
  • If you are not sure what the correct past participle form is, pick the form that would be correctly used following the helping verbs has, have, or had.
  • For example, the past participle of the verb take is taken.
  • You can tell by trying the verb with the words listed above: has taken, have taken, had taken.
a few examples of irregular verbs and their past participles
begin-begun

blow-blown

bring-brought

catch-caught

choose-chosen

draw-drew

eat-eaten

fall-fallen

fly-flown

forget-forgotten

forgive-forgiven

freeze-frozen

go-gone

hear-heard

hold-held

ride-ridden

rise-risen

speak-spoken

think-thought

wear-worn

A Few Examples of Irregular Verbs and Their Past Participles
examples of participial phrases
Laughing gleefully, the child held up her piggy bank.

Notice that “Laughing gleefully” works as a participial phrase describing the noun child.

Attacked by a sudden leg cramp, the screaming boy waded out of the pool.

Notice that “Attacked by a sudden leg cramp” acts as a participial phrase describing the noun boy.

Examples of Participial Phrases
identify the participial phrase
Identify the Participial Phrase
  • Listening intently, the students translated Spanish sentences into English.
  • Using a hoe and a rake, Steve cleared the dead plants from the garden.
participial phrases identified
Participial Phrases Identified
  • Listening intently, the students translated Spanish sentences into English. (describes the noun students)
  • Using a hoe and a rake, Steve cleared the dead plants from the garden. (describes the noun Steve)
slide37

What is an

Infinitive?

important definition38
ImportantDefinition

Strange . . .

It looks like a verb, but it’s preceded by the word to.

  • An infinitive is the word to plus the base form of the verb.
examples of infinitives
Examples of Infinitives
  • We started to practice for the concert.
  • It’s time to rake the yard.
  • I asked Jeff to go sailing on Grand Lake.
slide40
Note
  • When followed by anything other than a verb, the wordto forms a prepositional phrase rather than an infinitive.
  • Examples:
    • I took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.
    • I went to the post office to mail the package. (Notice that the sentence also contains the infinitive “to mail.”)
    • I gave the gift to Michael
    • I need to talk to her. (This sentence also contains the infinitive “to talk.”)
identify the infinitives
Identify the Infinitives.
  • Sally decided to enter the Tulsa Run.
  • Brad learned to operate the new photocopier.
identify the infinitives42
Identify the Infinitives
  • Sally decided to enter the Tulsa Run.
  • Brad learned to operate the new photocopier.
identify the infinitive phrases
Identify the Infinitive Phrases
  • When they went to the Fourth of July parade, they began to wave their flags.
  • Charles paid a visit to the gypsy fortune teller to learn what the new year would bring.
infinitive phrases identified
Infinitive Phrases Identified
  • When they went to the Fourth of July parade, they began to wave their flags.
  • Charles paid a visit to the gypsy fortune teller to learn what the new year would bring.
remember
Remember . . .

You can bring monotonous sentences to life by using gerund, participial , and infinitive phrases in your writing.