Whether you are familiar with participle phrases or not, you probably employ them often. Here’s an example.

“Running through the hall, I realized that I was late to class.”

These phrases are particularly easy to misplace, though. Here’s an example that I turned in for a recent cover story that needed to be corrected.

“Around the age of 11, racial slurs turned to physical violence.”

My editor’s comments read: Misplaced participle phrase. Racial slurs weren’t around the age of 11. Chappell was. Recast.

Chappell is the subject of the story. One possible correction would be: Around the age of 11, Chappell was the victim of physical violence. Now the participle phrase is directly followed by the subject it is describing. See which of the following needs correcting.

Spinning around the room, the country band had my dance partner and I all whipped up.
Riding the pony, my mom waved at me as the pony and I came to a stop.
At the age of 10, I first realized there was no Santa Clause.

Having read this blog, you should now be better equipped to properly place participle phrases next to the noun or pronoun they modify.

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