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Verbals and Verbal Phrases
Chapter 5
What is a Verbal?
A verbal is a word formed from a verb but is
used as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.
There are three kinds of verbals
1) the participle
2) the gerund
3) the infinitive
The Participle
1) A participle is a verb form that can be used as
an adjective.
1) Present participles end in –ing
Ex) The smiling child waved.
Ex) The horses trotting past was not frightened.
2) Most part participles end in –d or –ed. Some past
participles are irregularly formed.
Ex) The police searched the abandoned building.
Ex) The plate, bought at a flea market, is lovely.
Be careful!
Don’t confuse a participle with a verb!
VERB: Carmen was shouting loudly to the
pedestrian.
PARTICIPLE: Shouting loudly, Carmen warned
the pedestrian to look out for the car.
PRACTICE: Find the Participle!
• The papers, aged and yellowed, were in the
bottom drawer.
• For centuries the ruins remained there,
waiting for discovery.
• Carefully decorated, the piñata glittered in the
sunlight.
• Cheering and clapping, the spectators greeted
their team.
The Participial Phrase
A participial phrase consists of a participle and
modifiers or complements that participle has.
The entire thing is used as an adjective.
Examples
• Seeing itself in the mirror, the duck seemed
quite bewildered.
• After a while, we heard the duck quacking
noisily at its own image.
PRACTICE: Find the Participial Phrase!
• Noted for her beauty, Venus was sought by
many gods as a wife.
• Bathed in radiant light, Venus brought love
and joy wherever she went.
• Jupiter, knowing her charms, nevertheless
married her to Vulcan, the ugliest of the gods.
• Mars, known to the Greeks as Ares, was the
god of war.
The Gerund
2) A gerund is a verb form ending in –ing that is
used as a noun.
Examples
• Dad’s favorite pastime is fishing for trout.
• Give sailing a try.
• We enjoyed hiking in the Sangre de Cristo
Mountains.
• Please sweep the front sidewalk after
mowing.
Tips for finding gerunds!
• Because gerunds act as nouns, they are
needed in the sentence (You can’t take them
out and expect the sentence to still make
sense)
• Gerunds can typically be replaced with the
question: WHAT?
PRACTICE: Find the Gerund!
•
•
•
•
•
My sister has always enjoyed riding horseback.
Why won’t that dog stop barking?
Studying usually pays off in higher scores.
Melinda decided on walking.
In the past, working took up most people’s
time six days a week.
The Gerund Phrase
A gerund phrase consists of a gerund and any
modifiers or complements the gerund has. The
entire phrase is used as a noun.
Examples
• Having a part-time job may interfere with
your schoolwork.
• The townspeople heard the loud clanging of
the fire bell.
PRACTICE: Find the Gerund Phrase!
• Angelo’s pleading rarely influenced his
mother’s decisions.
• The eerie sound they heard was the howling
of the wolves.
• We sat back and enjoyed the slow rocking of
the boat.
• The blue jay’s screeching at the cat woke us up
at dawn.
The Infinitive
3) An infinitive is a verb that can be used as a
noun, an adjective, or an adverb. Most
infinitives begin with to.
Examples
• To install the ceiling fan took two hours.
• The best time to visit Florida is December
through April.
• The camel knelt at the pool to drink.
PRACTICE: Find the infinitive!
• After school, June and I like to walk home
together.
• Usually we go to my house or her house to
listen to CDs.
• June doesn’t like to sit still when a good song
is playing.
• I finally admitted to June that I never learned
to dance.
The Infinitive Phrase
An infinitive phrase consists of an infinitive and
any modifiers or complements the infinitive has.
The entire phrase may be used as a noun, an
adjective, or an adverb.
Examples
• The crowd grew quiet to hear the speaker.
• To lift those weights takes great strength.
PRACTICE: Find the Infinitive Phrase!
• Taking care of your bike is one way to make it
last.
• I learned to place a small drop of oil on each
link of the bike chain.
• It’s important to use a wrench to tighten the
bolts.
• My aunt wanted to give me tips about taking
care of my bicycle.
Infinitives as a Noun
• The students wanted to give the right
answers.
Infinitives as an Adjective
• Peanuts and raisins are good snacks to take on
a camping trip.
Infinitives as an Adverb
• We were brave to sing on stage.
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