Commas with Participial Phrases

Rule


Terms to know

Participial: A verb ending in –ing or –ed  or –n that is functioning as an adjective (meaning it is modifying a noun or pronoun)

Restrictive: provides necessary information about the noun


Examples

She looked at the clock, exhilarated by her upcoming presentation.

  • “Exhilarated by her upcoming presentation” is a participial phrase that isn’t necessary information, so it takes a comma.

She stood, feeling a little left out, and ran out of the arena.

  • “Feeling a little left out” is a participial phrase that isn’t necessary information, so it is surrounded by commas.

Throwing caution to the wind, she told him she loved him.

  • “Throwing caution to the wind” is a participial phrase that isn’t necessary information, so a comma comes after it. (This was also covered in my Commas with Introductions blog.)

Actors forgetting their lines may be forced to ad-lib.

  • “Forgetting their lines” is a participial phrase; however, it is explaining which actors, so it is essential information and doesn’t take a comma.

The book written by Grishmere was on sale.

  • “Written by Grishmere” is a participial phrase; however, it is explaining which book is on sale, so it is essential information and doesn’t take a comma.

Practice

  1. She walked up the classroom aisle keeping her gaze forward.
  2. The clock struck four times signaling the end of another tortuous day.
  3. Gracie known for her kindness can often be found volunteering at the shelter.
  4. Children interested in reading do better in early education.
  5. She tugged her jacked over her shirt now clinging to her back.
  6. The guy wearing the suede jacket looked over at me.
  7. Sylvia singing a silly song swore she wasn’t drunk.
  8. Laughing at her joke he spit his drink out his nose.

Answers

  1. She walked up the classroom aisle, keeping her gaze forward.
  2. The clock struck four times, signaling the end of another tortuous day.
  3. Gracie, known for her kindness, can often be found volunteering at the shelter.
  4. Children interested in reading do better in early education.  (no comma since “interested in reading” explains which children)
  5. She tugged her jacked over her shirt, now clinging to her back.
  6. The guy wearing the suede jacket looked over at me. (no comma since “wearing the suede jacket” explains which guy)
  7. Sylvia, singing a silly song, swore she wasn’t drunk.
  8. Laughing at her joke, he spit his drink out his nose.

 

Subscribe

If you would like to subscribe to my blog, click the button below.

About Me

With a passion for words, collecting quotes, and reading books, I love all things writing related. I will admit to having a love-hate relationship with writing as I am constantly critical, but I feel a grand sense of accomplishment spending hours editing my own writing.

Lest you think I don’t have much of a life, I should add I also enjoy dancing, singing, acting, eating out, and spending quality time with my husband and adorable kids.

I’m pretty cool. And you may want to be my friend. But in order for that to happen, you will need to know more about me than this tiny box allows.

Intrigued?