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General Writing and Grammar Help/parsing the participle phrase

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Question
Dear Ted,

Would you please tell me if I have understood the following correctly or not:

“Holding the torch steadily, Merdine approached the monster.”

holding  =  present participle used as a verb

torch  =  direct object of “holding”

steadily  =  adverb that modifies "holding"

holding the torch steadily  =  participle phrase that modifies Merdine

approached  =  verb in past tense

monster   =  direct object of “approached”

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich:

Dear Ted,

Would you please tell me if I have understood the following correctly or not:

“Holding the torch steadily, Merdine approached the monster.”

holding  =  present participle used as a verb *****

torch  =  direct object of “holding”

steadily  =  adverb that modifies "holding"

holding the torch steadily  =  participle phrase that modifies Merdine

approached  =  verb in past tense

monster   =  direct object of “approached”

GREAT!  I marked [*****] just one problem.  Participles are VERBALS.  They are adjectives based on the verb, but they do not function as verbs.  The word "holding" is the present participle.  It and the remaining words in the phrase all modify the subject "Merdine."  Since the phrase modifies the subject, the proper noun "Merdine," the phrase MUST function as an adjective.


Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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