What is a Participle Phrase? Check Definition, Usage, & Examples in English

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Have you ever encountered sentences with an ‘-ing’ or ‘-ed’ word acting as an adjective or adverb in English? Those are participle phrases, quite infamous for adding flavour and complexity to your writing. After all, these phrases as modifiers are a must to make your sentences meaningful. However, there is more to the participle phrase than meets the eye. So, read this blog hereon to find out how these phrasal modifiers work with the help of definitions, examples, and exercises for ease of learning. 

What is a Participle Phrase? – Definition

A participle phrase consists of a participle (a verb form ending in ‘-ing’, ‘-ed,’ or ‘irregular forms’) and any accompanying modifiers or complements. These phrases function as adjectives or adverbs, modifying nouns or verbs to provide additional information or describe actions. More importantly, a participle phrase is versatile and can appear at a sentence’s beginning, middle, or end.

Note:- Check the following image to understand the difference between the ‘-ing’ and ‘-ed’ forms of verbs (i.e., present participle and past participle).

present participle vs past participle

How to Use Participle Phrases?

Phrases as participles serve various purposes when it comes to their usage within a sentence. Some of those common usage you should be aware of are as follows:

S. No.UsageExamples
1.Modifying NounsThe running child chased after the ball.
2.Modification of VerbsSighing heavily, she closed the book.
3.Providing Descriptive DetailsThe tree, covered in snow, looked picturesque.
4.Adding InformationHaving finished his homework, he went out to play.
5.Usage in Negative Scenario Not knowing whether it could fly, the young boy designed a wooden aeroplane. 

Participle Phrase Examples in Sentences

Check some more participle phrase examples in the form of sentences to understand their usage even better: 

  • The towering skyscraper, piercing the clouds, dominated the city skyline.
  • Exhausted from the hike, we collapsed onto the couch.
  • Walking down the street, a red car caught my eye.
  • The weathered house, standing on the hill, told stories of forgotten times.
  • After hiking for hours, we collapsed onto the couch, exhausted.
  • Walking down the street, a red car caught my eye.

Read more on Participles here!

Participle Preposition50+ Participle Preposition Examples
What are Participial Adjectives?All about Regular and Irregular Verbs

Participle Phrase Exercises for Practise

Instructions: Complete the following sentences with the appropriate participle phrase (present or past participle) chosen from the tabulated options.

(a.) scattered(b.) shining(c.) whistling(d.) boasting(e.) completed
(f.) disappointed(g.) sparkling(h.) read(i.) motivated(j.) towering


  1. The hikers, ________ by the breathtaking view, reached the mountain peak. 
  2. The old oak tree, ________ for centuries, stood tall in the field. 
  3. ________ the test, a wave of relief washed over me. 
  4. The aroma of freshly ________ cookies filled the kitchen. 
  5. ________ a happy tune, the child skipped down the street. 
  6. The ________ leaves swirled in the autumn breeze. 
  7. ________ their victory, the team celebrated with a loud cheer. 
  8. The ________ lake reflected the image of the snow-capped mountains. 
  9. Feeling ________ after the long journey, we decided to rest for a while. 
  10. ________ the instructions carefully, I began assembling the furniture. 

Answer Keys

  1. (j) motivated
  2. (j) towering
  3. (e) Having completed
  4. (b) baked
  5. (c) Whistling
  6. (a) Scattered
  7. (d) Boasting
  8. (g) Sparkling
  9. (f) Disappointed
  10. (i) Having read.

Find more exciting reads on grammar below!

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35+ Common Phrases for Daily Use35+ Email Phrases You Should Start (& Stop) Using
11+ Useful Phrases for Group Discussion15 Best Phrases Examples (with Usage)You Should Know
11+ Idioms for Difficult Task50+ Examples of Phrase Preposition

This was all about participle phrases along with other relevant information. Hope you understand the concept and know how to proceed. You can also follow the Learn English page of Leverage Edu for more exciting and informative blogs related to grammar.

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