Practice in Building Sentences With Participial Phrases

Exercises in Building and Combining Sentences

sunrise in the city
Standing on the roof of my apartment building at dawn, I watched the sun rise through gray clouds. (Tyler Richendollar/EyeEm/Getty Images)

This exercise will give you a chance to apply the principles introduced in How to Create and Arrange Participial Phrases.

Instructions

Combine the sentences in each set below into a single clear sentence with at least one participial phrase. Here's an example:

  • I stood on the roof of my apartment building at dawn.
  • I watched the sun rise through gray clouds.

Sample combination: Standing on the roof of my apartment building at dawn, I watched the sun rise through gray clouds.

If you run into problems while working on this exercise, review the following pages:

When you're done, compare your sentences with the sample combinations on page two.

Exercise: Building Sentences with Participial Phrases

  1. The dishwasher was invented in 1889.
    The dishwasher was invented by an Indiana housewife.
    The first dishwasher was driven by a steam engine.
     
  2. I took small sips from a can of Coke.
    I was sitting on the ground in a shady corner.
    I was sitting with my back against the wall.
     
  3. I was sitting on the window ledge.
    The ledge overlooked the narrow street.
    I watched the children.
    The children were frolicking in the first snow of the season.
     
  4. The first edition of Infant Care was published by the U.S. Government.
    The first edition of Infant Care was published in 1914.
    The first edition of Infant Care recommended the use of peat moss for disposable diapers.
     
  1. The house sat stately upon a hill.
    The house was gray.
    The house was weather-worn.
    The house was surrounded by barren tobacco fields.
     
  2. I washed the windows in a fever of fear.
    I whipped the squeegee swiftly up and down the glass.
    I feared that some member of the gang might see me.
     
  3. Goldsmith smiled.
    He bunched his cheeks like twin rolls of toilet paper.
    His cheeks were fat.
    The toilet paper was smooth.
    The toilet paper was pink.
     
  1. The roaches scurried in and out of the breadbox.
    The roaches sang chanteys.
    The roaches sang as they worked.
    The roaches paused only to thumb their noses.
    They thumbed their noses jeeringly.
    They thumbed their noses in my direction.
     
  2. The medieval peasant was distracted by war.
    The medieval peasant was weakened by malnutrition.
    The medieval peasant was exhausted by his struggle to earn a living.
    The medieval peasant was an easy prey for the dreadful Black Death.
     
  3. He eats slowly.
    He eats steadily.
    He sucks the sardine oil from his fingers.
    The sardine oil is rich.
    He sucks the oil with slow and complete relish.

Now compare your sentences with the sample combinations on page two.

Here are sample combinations for the 10 sets of sentence-building exercises on page one. Keep in mind that in most cases more than one effective combination is possible.

  1. Invented by an Indiana housewife in 1889, the first dishwasher was driven by a steam engine.
  2. Sitting on the ground in a shady corner with my back against the wall, I took small sips from a can of Coke.
  3. Sitting on the widow ledge overlooking the narrow street, I watched the children frolicking in the first snow of the season.
  1. Published by the U.S. Government in 1914, the first edition of Infant Care recommended the use of peat moss for disposable diapers.
  2. The gray, weather-worn house sat stately upon a hill surrounded by barren tobacco fields.
  3. Fearing that some member of the gang might see me, I washed the windows in a fever of fear, whipping the squeegee swiftly up and down the glass.
  4. "Goldsmith smiled, bunching his fat cheeks like twin rolls of smooth pink toilet paper."
    (Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts)
  5. "The roaches scurried in and out of the breadbox, singing chanteys as they worked and pausing only to thumb their noses jeeringly in my direction."
    (S. J. Perelman, The Rising Gorge)
  6. The medieval peasant--distracted by war, weakened by malnutrition, exhausted by his struggle to earn a living--was an easy prey for the dreaded Black Death.
  7. He eats slowly, steadily, sucking the rich sardine oil from his fingers with slow and complete relish.