Pleasant Present Participial Phrases

Being careful to not overdo it, I would like to add my voice to the celebration of this Grammar Day. I’d like to discuss, for a moment, my favorite grammar structure, which I use as often as possible in my writing.

Behold and love the Present Participial Phrase:

Singing quietly to himself, Wesley removed his new roast masterpiece, “Fetch This, Buttercup,” from the stone oven.

It’s kind of like an appositive, since it’s not entirely necessary information and it is always set off by commas. However, it is not an appositive, since it is not a noun or noun phrase that is renaming another noun nearby it.

No, the present participial phrase adds movement, texture, and color to a sentence.


Boring Sentence: Spiderman saved Mary Jane.

Sentence with 3 Awesome Units: Swinging suddenly from between two decrepit buildings, Spiderman saved Mary Jane, wishing he could tell her who he was and how he felt about her.

So if you want to add awesome units to your writing, I highly recommend the present participial phrase. Don’t be like me and overuse it, but forget this wonderful grammar structure at your writing’s peril.

About jaredgarrett

Jared Garrett is the author of Beat, a YA scifi thriller, and its forthcoming sequel, both published by Future House Publishing. A new series, debuting in January 2016 and also published by Future House, kicks off with Lakhoni, a fast-paced rescue adventure in a world reminiscent of Aztec culture, to be released in January 2016. He self-published Beyond the Cabin, a novelization of his childhood in a cult, in December 2014. Both Beat and Beyond the Cabin were Whitney Award nominees, and his story Song of the Wind, received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest. In addition to writing, he's spent fifteen years in adult education and is an accomplished public speaker and workshop leader.
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