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Participial phrases

by Mike
(UK)

I read your article on cutting back on participial phrases with interest but you seem to have limited your comments to leading participial phrases i.e. where the participial phrase comes first. But what about them when they come at the end of the sentence? Are they okay? I find I use a lot of those e.g.

A wall of noise slammed into the old man, driving the breath from his lungs, hurling him across the yard. His back smashed into the concrete, pain flooding his body. Is this usage okay?

ANSWER

Participial phrases are not ungrammatical, so the use of them in either place is theoretically correct. The problem comes with overuse, wherever they are placed. Many beginning writers will have several on a page, so my advice, at least at first, is to avoid them and break the habit.

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