Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Me vs I

Mistakes made with these two English pronouns have been increasing exponentially for years. The difference is actually very simple - let me explain it to you.


I is the first person singular subject pronoun, which means that it refers to the person performing the action of a verb.

I want to go.

This is the one I like.

You and I need to get ready.

Tom and I are going to the movies.


Me is an object pronoun, which means that it refers to the person that the action of a verb is being done to, or to which a preposition refers.

David told me to leave.

He gave me ten dollars.

Between you and me, this is a bad idea.

She needs to talk to Joe or me.

The Bottom Line

This confusion usually occurs when you have I/me connected to another pronoun or name with "and" or "or." I believe that the confusion begins when someone says something like "John and me are ready" and that is corrected to "John and I are ready." The speaker then thinks, "Oh, the word 'and' means that I should always use I." This is not the case. "And" has nothing to do with it; the reason you say "John and I" in that sentence is that "John and I" are the subject. If they were the object, you'd use me: "He told John and me to get ready."

If you are not good with grammar concepts like subject and objects, there is still a very easy way to decide whether to use I or me: try out the sentence with just I or me (or if you need a plural, we or us - "we" is equivalent to "I" and "us" is equivalent to "me."):

He told Tom and (I or me?) to get ready.
He told I to get ready? NO
He told me to get ready? YES
Therefore, He told Tom and me to get ready.

If John and (I or me?) get married, we'll have two kids.
If me get married? NO
If I get married? YES
Therefore, If John and I get married, we'll have two kids.

Just between you and (I or me?), this is a bad idea.
Because "between" needs to be followed by a plural, we'll use "we" and "us" to figure this out. 
Just between we? NO
Just between us? YES
Just between you and me, this is a bad idea.

And whatever you do, please don't use a subject pronoun and object pronoun together.

He and I - correct: "He and I are going to town."
Him and me - correct: "She told him and me the truth."
Him and I - WRONG
He and me - WRONG

Me vs Myself

Me, myself, and I may refer to the same person, but they are not interchangeable. Myself should be the one you hear the least, but it's often used incorrectly in place of me.


Me is an object pronoun, which means that it refers to the person that the action of a verb is being done to, or to which a preposition refers.

They want me to study more.

Tell me a story.

Between you and me, he's right.

Carol wants to meet with John and me tomorrow.

The book was written entirely by me.

Please call Hillary or me with any questions.


Myself is a reflexive or stressed pronoun, which means that, generally speaking, it should be used in conjunction with the subject pronoun I, not instead of the object pronoun me.

I bought myself a car.

I myself started the company.

I did the laundry by myself.

I feel like myself again.

Tired of waiting, I just did it myself.

The Bottom Line

Myself can be used for stress, but most grammarians won't allow it to be used alone - they reject constructions like "Carol wants to meet with John and myself" (correct: with John and me") and "The book was written entirely by myself" (correct: by me personally).

Just remember that myself can be reflexive (I'm doing something to/for myself) or emphatic (I myself). Otherwise, you probably want to use me.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Like vs. As/As If/As though

Use like before a noun or pronoun. Use as before a clause, adverb or prepositional phrase. Use as if and as though before a clause. Like is generally used as a preposition in such a context. As is generally used as a conjunction of manner while sometimes serving as a preposition with the meaning of "in the capacity of". As you can tell, the focus of the comparison shifts from the noun when used with like to the verb when used with as, as if, or as though.

My mother's cheesecake tastes like glue.
I love frozen pizza because there is no other snack like it.
My mother's cheesecake tastes great, as a mother's cheesecake should.
There are times, as now, that learning grammar becomes important.
He golfed well again, as in the tournament last year.
He served as captain in the navy.
He often told half-truths, as any politician would.
He looks as if he knows me.
It looked as if a storm were on the way.
He yelled at me as though it were my fault.

The same rule applies when you use the expressions seem like and look like.

He seemed like a nice guy at first.
That looks like a very tasty cake.

Wrong: It seemed like he liked me.
Correct: It seemed as if he liked me.
Here the comparison is with a clause, not a noun.


Like vs Such as

Like is used to introduce similarity between two items or persons. This is an accepted usage in Sentence Correction on the GMAT. In other words, like cannot be used to introduce examples or a subset of a category, which should be used following such as.

Correct: I enjoy playing musical instruments such as piano and violin.
Wrong: I enjoy playing musical instruments like piano and violin.

In sum, on the GMAT, use like before a noun or pronoun when emphasizing similar characteristics between two persons, groups or things. Use such as before a noun or phrase when introducing examples.


If... then construction

Whenever you come across the If .. Then construction in the sentence -- Follow the rule below.

IF Clause Then Clause

Present will + Base Verb

If Ram wins... he will give ...........

Past would/could + Base verb

If Ram won... he would give........

Past Perfect would/could + have + Participle

If Ram had won... he would have given.....


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Aim to vs Aim at

Aim at + an object (noun, gerund, noun clause etc.);
Aim to + verbal infinitive.

We aim at an improvement, at a business target, an achievement;
we aim to do something, to reach a target, to finish a task (before leaving work), arrive somewhere at a given time.

Aim to (idiom) meaning - Try or intend to do something, as in We aim to please, or She aims to fly to California. This term derives from aim in the sense of "direct the course of something," such as an arrow or bullet.

Aim at (idiom) meaning - Direct a missile or criticism at something or someone. In his last speech the President took aim at the opposition leader.

Source: &

May vs Might

The difference between may and might is subtle. They both indicate that something is possible, but something that may happen is more likely than something that might happen. So you may go to a party if Matt Damon invites you, but you might go to a party if your least favorite cousin invites you.

A Mighty Stretch

I remember the difference by thinking that I should use might when something is a mighty stretch. Imagine something you'd almost never do, and then imagine someone inviting you to do it. For me, it's white-water rafting. The idea terrifies me. So if someone (such as my former employer) asked me to go on a corporate bonding white-water rafting trip, it's unlikely I would go, but I could be convinced if I thought my job depended on it. But it would be a mighty stretch. So I'd say something like, "Yeah, I might go; and pigs might fly, too."

So imagine whatever it is you'd be reluctant to do but wouldn't completely rule out, and then imagine yourself saying in a nice, sarcastic voice, "Yeah, I might." And that should help you remember to use might when the outcome is uncertain or unlikely and to use may when something is more likely to happen, such as attending a nice, safe company lunch where helmets and life vests aren't required.

You might clean your room, but you may call your friend later. You might climb Mt. Everest someday, but you may go hiking in the foothills next weekend.

Might Is the Past Tense of May

There are two exceptions to this rule.

First, might is the past tense of may. So you have to use might when you are referring to the past. For example, even if it's likely that Squiggly went to a party last night, Aardvark shouldn't say, “Squiggly may have gone to the party’; he should say, “Squiggly might have gone to the party.”

The second exception is a gray area. When you're talking about something not happening, it can be better to use might because people could think you're talking about permission if you use may. This is clearer with an example. If you aren't sure whether you'll go to the party, and you say, "We may not go to the party," it can be misinterpreted to mean you don't have permission to go to the party, particularly in writing, where voice inflections don't help guide the meaning. But if you say, "We might not go to the party," then your meaning is clear. It's the safer bet.

So remember to use may when the outcome is likely and might when the outcome is less likely or uncertain. But also remember that you use might for everything in the past tense. Also, it's OK to use might when you're writing about negative outcomes, even if they're likely outcomes, if using may would make people think you were talking about having permission.

823). The Rorschzch test is gaining new respect as a diagnostic tool because it takes only one hour to expose behavior and thought processes that may be unlikely to emerge in other procedures or weeks of ordinary interviewing

(A) that may be unlikely to emerge in other procedures or weeks of ordinary interviewing

(B) whose emergence is unlikely in other procedures or weeks of ordinary interviews

(C) that might not emerge in other procedures or in weeks of ordinary interviews

(D) that may not emerge under other procedures or weeks of ordinary interviews

(E) unlikely not to emerge during weeks of ordinary interviewing or in other procedures

Ans: C

Question # 823

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Especially vs specially

To stress on the exceptional/ quality, use especial or especially. To stress on the distinctive purpose of something, use special or specially.
This laboratory is built specially for research.
(A distinctive purpose)
He did especially well in national games.
(A noteworthy performance)

Sulfur dioxide, a major contributor to acid rain, is an especially serious pollutant because it diminishes the respiratory system’s ability to deal with all other pollutants.

(A) an especially serious pollutant because it diminishes the respiratory system’s ability to deal

(B) an especially serious pollutant because of diminishing the respiratory system’s capability of dealing

(C) an especially serious pollutant because it diminishes the capability of the respiratory system in dealing

(D) a specially serious pollutant because it diminishes the capability of the respiratory system to deal

(E) a specially serious pollutant because of diminishing the respiratory system’s ability to deal

Answer: A

Rather than vs Instead of

Rather than - shows preference. This expression is generally used in 'parallel' structures. e.g - with two nouns, adjectives, adverbs, infinitives or -ing forms.


1). We ought to invest in machinery rather than buildings.
2). I prefer starting early rather than leaving things to the last minute.

When the main clause has a to - infinitive, rather than is usually followed by an infinitive without to or -ing form.

e.g - I decided to write rather than phone/phoning.

Instead of - suggests that one person, thing or action replaces another. Instead is not used alone as a preposition; we use the two words instead of.
Instead of is not usually followed by an infinitive.


1). I'll have tea instead of coffee, please.
2). I stayed in bed all day instead of going to work.
3). Amit was invited to the reception, but he was ill, so Akash went instead of him.

Note - Instead (without of) is an adverb. It begins or ends a clause usually.

e.g - She didn't go to Greece after all. Instead , she went to America.

Usage --- instead of + noun phrase. Instead of is only a preposition and can introduce only a phrase i.e no verb
Usage --- rather than + verb (or) rather than + noun. Further rather than can act as a preposition and can introduce a prepositional phrase or can act as a conjunction and introduce a clause

To understand the use of the above concept view questions 22 and 23 by clicking on the link below.


Compare to vs compare with

Compare to - is used to liken two things or to put them in the same category. You should use "compare to" when you intend to simply assert that two things are alike.Use "compared to" to illustrate that two things are similar

e.g -

1). The economy can be compared to a stallion charging at the gate.
2). I compare getting comments from students in class topulling teeth.
3). She compared her work for women's rights to Susan B. Anthony's campaign for women's suffrage.

Compare with - is used to place two things side by side for the purpose of examining their similarities or differences.Use "compared with" to illustrate the differences a comparison draws

e.g -

1). The American economy can be compared with the European economy to note how military history impacts future economics.
2). It would be interesting to compare Purdue with Ohio State.
3). Ann has a 3.5 GPA, compared with Jim's 2.9.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Run on sentence

A run-on sentence is a sentence in which two or more independent clauses (that is, complete sentences) are joined with no punctuation or conjunction. It is generally considered to be a grammatical error. Some grammarians also include a comma splice, in which two independent clauses are joined with a comma, as a type of run-on sentence, while others exclude comma splices from the definition of a run-on sentence.

A run-on sentence does not mean a sentence is too long; longer sentences are likely to be run-ons only when they contain more than one complete idea. A run-on sentence can be as short as four words—for instance: I drive she walks. In this case there are two complete ideas (independent clauses): two subjects paired with two (intransitive) verbs. So long as clauses are punctuated appropriately, a writer can assemble multiple independent clauses in a single sentence; in fact, a properly constructed sentence can be extended indefinitely.


Forming and using verb tenses

English speakers form many verb tenses by combining one of principal parts of the verb with one or more auxiliary verbs.

In order to form verb tenses you need a good grasp of the auxiliaries and the principal parts of the verb. There are four principal parts: the basic form, the present participle, the past form, and the past participle.

The basic form (or root of the verb is the form listed in the dictionary and is usually identical to the first person singular form of the simple present tense (except in the case of the verb "to be"):


The infinitive form of the verb is a compound verb made up of the the preposition "to" and the basic form of the verb:

to walk
to paint
to think
to grow
to sing

To form the present participle, add "-ing" to the basic form of the verb:


Note that you cannot use the present participle as a predicate unless you use an auxiliary verb with it -- the word group "I walking to the store" is an incomplete and ungrammatical sentence, while word group "I am walking to the store" is a complete sentence. You will often use the present participle as a modifier.

The past form of verbs is a little trickier. If the verb is regular (or weak, you can create the past form by adding "-ed", "-d", or "-t" to the present form. When a basic form ends in "-y", you changed the "-y" to "-i-"; in many cases you should also double terminal consonants before adding "-ed" (see the section on Spelling words with Double Consonants).


The past participle of regular verbs is usually identical to the past form, while the past participle of irregular verbs is often different:


Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs form the past participle and the past form without "-(e)d" or "-t", and frequently their past form and past participle are different. For example, the past form of the verb "break" is "broke" and the past participle is "broken."

This list contains the most common verbs that form their past tenses irregularly:

arose, arise
awoke or awaked, awaked or awoken
awakened, awakened
bear (to carry)
bore, borne
bear (to give birth)
beat, beaten or beat
was, been
became, become
began, begun
bet, bet
bid, bid (to, offer)
bid (to order, invite)
bade, bidden
bound, bound
bit, bitten
bled, bled
blew, blown
broke, broken
bred, bred
brought, brought
burst, burst
bought, bought
cast, cast
caught, caught
chose, chosen
clung, clung
came, come
crept, crept
cut, cut
dealt, dealt
dug, dug
dived or dove, dived
did, done
drew, drawn
dreamed or dreamt, dreamed or dreamt
drank, drunk
drove, driven
ate, eaten
fell, fallen
fed, fed
felt, felt
fought, fought
found, found
fled, fled
flew, flown
forbade, forbidden
forgot, forgotten
forgave, forgiven
forsook, forsaken
froze, frozen
got, got or gotten
gave, given
went, gone
ground, ground
grew, grown
hang (to suspend)
hung, hung
hang (to execute)
hanged, hanged
had, had
heard, heard
hid, hidden
hit, hit
held, held
hurt, hurt
kept, kept
knelt or kneeled, knelt or kneeled
knitted or knit, knitted or knit
knew, known
laid, laid
led, led
leaped or leapt, leaped or leapt
left, left
lent, lent
let, let
lay, lain
lighted or lit, lighted or lit
lost, lost
made, made
meant, meant
met, met
mistook, mistaken
overcame, overcome
paid, paid
proved, proved or proven
put, put
quit, quit
read, read
rode, ridden
rang, rung
rose, risen
ran, run
said, said
saw, seen
sought, sought
sold, sold
sent, sent
set, set
shook, shaken
shed, shed
shot, shot
shrank or shrunk, shrunk
shut, shut
sang, sung
sank, sunk
sat, sat
slew, slain
slept, slept
slid, slide
slung, slung
slunk, slunk
spoke, spoken
sped or speeded, sped or speeded
spent, spent
spun, spun
spit or spat, spit or spat
split, split
spread, spread
sprang or sprung, sprung
stood, stood
stole, stolen
stuck, stuck
stank or stunk, stunk
strewed, strewn
strode, stridden
struck, struck
strung, strung
stove or strived, striven or strived
swore, sworn
swept, swept
swelled, swelled or swollen
swam, swum
swung, swung
took, taken
taught, taught
tore, torn
told, told
thought, though
throve or thrived, throve or thriven
threw, thrown
thrust, thrust
woke or waked, waked or woken
wept, wept
won, won
wound, wound
wring, wrung
wrote, written


A verbal is a noun or adjective formed from a verb. Writers sometimes make mistakes by using a verbal in place of a verb, and in very formal writing, by confusing different types of verbals. This section covers three different verbals: the participle (which acts as an adjective), the gerund (which acts as a noun), and the infinitive (which also acts as a noun).

The fundamental difference between verbals and other nouns and adjectives is that verbals can take their own objects, even though they are no longer verbs:

Building a house is complicated.

In this example, the noun phrase "a house" is the direct object of the verbal "building", even though "building" is a noun rather than a verb.

The Participle

A participle is an adjective formed from a verb. To make a present participle, you add "-ing" to the verb, sometimes doubling the final consonant:

"think" becomes "thinking"
"fall" becomes "falling"
"run" becomes "running"

The second type of participle, the past participle, is a little more complicated, since not all verbs form the past tense regularly. The following are all past participles:

the sunken ship
a ruined city
a misspelled word

Note that only transitive verbs can use their past participles as adjectives, and that unlike other verbals, past participles do not take objects (unless they are part of a compound verb).

The Gerund

A gerund is a noun formed from a verb. To make a gerund, you add "-ing" to the verb, just as with a present participle. The fundamental difference is that a gerund is a noun, while a participle is an adjective:

I enjoy running. ("Running" is a noun acting as the direct object of the verb "enjoy.")
Stay away from running water. ("Running" is an adjective modifying the noun "water.")

Using Verbals

There are two common problems that come up when writers use verbals. The first is that since verbals look like verbs, they sometimes cause students to write fragmentary sentences:

[WRONG] Oh, to find true love!
[WRONG] Jimmy, swimming the most important race of his life.

The second problem is a very fine point, which most editors and some teachers no longer enforce. Although they look the same, gerunds and present participles are different parts of speech, and need to be treated differently. For example, consider the following two sentences:

I admire the woman finishing the report.
I admire the woman's finishing the report.

In the first example, "finishing" is a participle modifying the noun "woman": in other words, the writer admires the woman, not what she is doing; in the second example, "finishing" is a participle, modified by the possessive noun "woman's": in other words, the writer admires not the woman herself but the fact that she is finishing the report.

Linking Verbs

A linking verb connects a subject to a subject complement which identifies or describes the subject, as in the following sentences:

The play is Waiting for Godot.

In this sentence, the linking verb "is" links the noun phrase "the play" to the identifying phrase "Waiting for Godot," which is called a subject complement.

Some of us thought that the play was very good.

In this sentence, the verb "was" links the subject complement "very good" to subject "the play."

Others thought it became tedious after the first fifteen minutes.

In this sentence, the linking verb "became" links the subject "it" to the subject complement "tedious." The phrase "after the first fifteen minutes" functions as an adverb modifying the clause "it became tedious."

The cast appears disorganised and confused; perhaps Beckett intended this.

Here "appears" is functioning as a linking verb that connects the subject "the cast" to its subject complement "disorganised and confused."

The play seems absurd to me.

The subject "the play" is joined to its subject complement "absurd" by the linking verb "seems."

Linking verbs are either verbs of sensation ("feel," "look," "smell," "sound," "taste") or verbs of existence ("act," "appear," "be," "become," "continue," "grow," "prove," "remain," "seem," "sit," "strand," "turn").

Many linking verbs (with the significant exception of "be") can also be used as transitive or intransitive verbs. In the following pairs of sentences, the first sentence uses the highlighted verb as a linking verb and the second uses the same verb as either a transitive or an intransitive verb:

Griffin insists that the water in Winnipeg tastes terrible.

In this sentence, the adjective "terrible" is a subject complement that describes a quality of the water.

I tasted the soup before adding more salt.

Here the noun phrase "the soup" identifies what "I tasted." "The soup" is the direct object of the verb "tasted."

My neighbour's singing voice sounds very squeaky despite several hours of daily practice.

In this example, the phrase "very squeaky" is a subject complement that describes or identities the nature of the "singing voice."

Upon the approach of the enemy troops, the gate-keeper sounded his horn.

Here the verb "sounded" takes a direct object, the noun phrase "his horn."

Cynthia feels queasy whenever she listens to banjo music.

In this sentence, the adjective "queasy" is a subject complement that describes Cynthia.

The customer carefully feels the fabric of the coat.

Here the noun phrase "the fabric of the coat" is the direct object of the verb "feels" and identifies what the customer feels.


Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Depending on the type of object they take, verbs may be transitive, intransitive, or linking.

The meaning of a transitive verb is incomplete without a direct object, as in the following examples:

The shelf holds.
The shelf holds three books and a vase of flowers.
The committee named.
The committee named a new chairperson.
The child broke.
The child broke the plate.

An intransitive verb, on the other hand, cannot take a direct object:

This plant has thrived on the south windowsill.

The compound verb "has thrived" is intransitive and takes no direct object in this sentence. The prepositional phrase "on the south windowsill" acts as an adverb describing where the plant thrives.

The sound of the choir carried through the cathedral.

The verb "carried" is used intransitively in this sentence and takes no direct object. The prepositional phrase "through the cathedral" acts as an adverb describing where the sound carried.

The train from Montreal arrived four hours late.

The intransitive verb "arrived" takes no direct object, and the noun phrase "four hours late" acts as an adverb describing when the train arrived.

Since the company was pleasant and the coffee both plentiful and good, we lingered in the restaurant for several hours.

The verb "lingered" is used intransitively and takes no direct object. The prepositional phrase "in the restaurant for several hours" acts as an adverb modifying "lingered."

The painting was hung on the south wall of the reception room.

The compound verb "was hung" is used intransitively and the sentence has no direct object. The prepositional phrase "on the south wall of the reception room" acts as a adverb describing where the paint hung.

Many verbs can be either transitive or intransitive, depending on their context in the sentence. In the following pairs of sentences, the first sentence uses the verb transitively and the second uses the same verb intransitively:

According to the instructions, we must leave this goo in our hair for twenty minutes.

In this example, the verb "leave" takes a direct object, the noun phrase "this goo."

We would like to stay longer, but we must leave.

In this example, the verb "leave" does not take a direct object.

The audience attentively watched the latest production of The Trojan Women.

In this example, the verb "watch" is used transitively and takes the noun phrase "the latest production of The Trojan Women" as a direct object.

The cook watched while the new dishwasher surreptitiously picked up the fragments of the broken dish.

In this example, the verb "watched" is used intransitively and takes no direct object.

The crowd moves across the field in an attempt to see the rock star get into her helicopter.

Here the verb "moves" is used as an intransitive verb and takes no direct object.

Every spring, William moves all boxes and trunks from one side of the attic to the other.

In this sentence "moves" is used as a transitive verb and takes the noun phrase "all the boxes and trunk" as a direct object.


Auxilliary Verbs

The most common auxiliary verbs are "be," "do," and "have", and you may also use these verbs on their own. You use "Will" and "shall" to express future time.

In each of the following examples, a verb commonly used as an auxiliary verb appears as a simple predicate:

She is the chief engineer.
The tea cups are in the china cabinet.
Garth does this kind of thing frequently.
My roommates and I do the laundry every second week.
I can't complete my assignment because he still has my notes.
They have several kinds of gelato in the display case.

Other common auxiliaries are "can," "could," "may," "might," "must," "ought," "should," "will," and "would." A verb like these is called a modal auxiliary and expresses necessity, obligation, or possibility.

The highlighted word in each of the following sentences is a modal auxiliary:

Zora was pleased to learn that she could take several days off.
The small freckled girl told her neighbours that she would walk their dog for an appropriate fee.
Henry told Eliza that she ought to have the hole in the bucket fixed.
The principal told the assembled students that the school board might introduce a dress code next autumn.
According to the instructions, we must leave this goo in our hair for twenty minutes.

Several words may intervene between the auxiliary and the verb which goes with it, as in the following sentences:

They have not delivered the documents on time.
The treasure chest was never discovered.
The health department has recently decided that all high school students should be immunised against meningitis.
Will you walk the dog tonight?
The ballet corps was rapidly and gracefully pirouetting about the stage.

Compound Verbs

You construct a compound verb out of an auxiliary verb and another verb.

In particular, you may use an auxiliary verb (also known as a helping verb) with the verb in order to create the many of the tenses available in English.

In each of the following sentences, the compound verb appears highlighted:

Karl Creelman bicycled around the world in 1899, but his diaries and his bicycle were destroyed.

The compound verb in this sentence is made up of the auxiliary "were" and the past participle "destroyed."

The book Seema was looking for is under the sofa.

Here the compound verb is made up of the auxiliary verb "was" and the present participle "looking."

They will meet us at the newest café in the market.

In this example the compound verb is made up of the auxiliary verb "will" and the verb "meet."

That dog has been barking for three hours; I wonder if someone will call the owner.

In this sentence the first compound verb is made up of the two auxiliary verbs ("has" and "been") and a present participle ("barking"). The second compound verb is made up of the auxiliary verb "will" and the verb "call."

Using Verbs

The verb is perhaps the most important part of the sentence. A verb or compound verb asserts something about the subject of the sentence and expresses actions, events, or states of being.

In each of the following sentences, the verb or compound verb appears highlighted:

Dracula bites his victims on the neck.

The verb "bites" describes the action Dracula takes.

In early October, Giselle will plant twenty tulip bulbs.

Here the compound verb "will plant" describes an action that will take place in the future.

My first teacher was Miss Crawford, but I remember the janitor Mr. Weatherbee more vividly.

In this sentence, the verb "was" (the simple past tense of "is") identifies a particular person and the verb "remembered" describes a mental action.


Participle Phrase Recognition

Definition: A participle phrase consists of a participle and its accompanying words. The whole phrase will modify a noun or pronoun. The accompanying words can be: prepositional phrase(s), adverbs, and a direct object. If you need help with what a participle is, go to the sheet entitled: Participle Recognition Practice.


Sitting in his office, the President called the Vice-president.

  • Sitting in his office is a participial phrase that modifies the noun, President. In his office is a prepositional phrase modifying the participle, sitting, and answers the question, "where sitting?". Thus, it is an adverb prepositional phrase.

Fearing failure, the student was very anxious about the test.

  • Fearing failure is the participial phrase modifying student. Failure is the direct object of the participle, fearing, and answers the question, "fearing what?"

Jen, waving good-bye, drove away.

  • Waving good-bye is the participial phrase modifying Jen. Good-bye is a direct object of the participle, waving.

Bill, steadily gaining confidence, was able to parallel park the car.

Steadily gaining confidence is the participial phrase modifying Bill. Steadily is an adverb, modifying the participle, gaining. Confidence is the direct object of the participle.

Original Source:

Participle Recognition

Definition: A participle is a verb form used as an adjective. The present participle and the past participle of the verb can be used. You learned these two when you studied the principal parts of a verb.

Verb - walk
Base - (to) walk
Present participle: (is) walking
Past: walked
Past participle: (have) walked

Now the present or past participle can be used as adjectives. Remember that adjectives answer the questions: what kind? how many? which one?. So, the participle will do the same thing.

The running track is covered with mud.
Running is the participle, describing the noun, track

A participle can come before or after the noun or pronoun it modifies. Remember, too, that the participle is a verb so you need to be careful that it is not part of a verb phrase in the sentence.

Are you running for president?
Are running is the verb in the sentence

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Clauses vs Phrases

Both clauses and phrases are clusters of words.

Clauses contain a subject and verb. If they form complete thoughts, we call them independent clauses. If they form incomplete thoughts, we call them dependent or subordinate clauses.

example: While we collected the data dependent clause, the temperature gradually increasedindependent clauseThe subject and verb combinations are we collected in the dependent clause and temperature increased in the independent clause.


Phrases are word clusters lacking subject and verb combinations.

example: While collecting data phrase, we noted an increase in temperature.

IMP: Like is used to introduce a phrase, but as must be used to introduce a clause

#56 OG11

In a plan to stop the erosion of East Coast beaches, the Army Corps of Engineers proposed building parallel to shore a breakwater of rocks that would rise six feet above the waterline and act as a buffer, so that it absorbs the energy of crashing waves and protecting the beaches.

A. act as a buffer, so that it absorbs
B. act like a buffer, so so as to absorbs
C. act as a buffer, absorbing
D. acting as a buffer, absorbing
E. acting like a buffer, absorb

Answer: The last part of the sentence describes the breakwater and should consist of two grammatically parallel phrases, absorbing... and protecting, in order to show two equal functions. Act is followed by like to mean to behave or comport oneself and describes the action of a person: He acted like a fool. Here, act as describes the function of a thing; the breakwater ... acts as a buffer. As an inanimate object, breakwater cannot "behave" itself; it must be performing some function.

Like vs As

Conjunction 'as' may introduce a clause; the preposition 'like' must be used for a comparison of two nouns.

Use like as a preposition in front of a noun:

He ate like a pig. (like a pig is a prepositional phrase)

Like their data, ours supported the hypothesis. (Like their data is a prepositional phrase)


Use the conjunction as, not like, in front of an adverbial phrase or clause:

not We collected data like we did before.

but We collected data as we did before. (as introduces the subordinate clause)


not Like we predicted, competition eliminated one species.

but As we predicted, competition eliminated one species. (as introduces the subordinate clause)


not It appears like this experiment succeeded.

but It appears as if this experiment succeeded. (as introduces the subordinate clause)

According to Garner, like is adjectival and as is adverbial