Sunday, August 14, 2011

Be Careful of Present Participle (Skill 4)

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Previous Skill: Be Careful with appositive (Skill 3)

A present participle is the -ing form of the verb (talking, playing). In the structure section of TOEFL Test, present participle can cause confusion because it can be either a part of the verb and an adjective.

1. As a part of the verb.

It is a part of the verb when it is preceded by some forms of verb be. Look at the example below:

The man is talking to his friend

In the sentence, talking is a part of the verb because it is accompanied by is.

2. As an adjective.

It is an adjective when it is not accompanied by some forms of verb be. Look at the example below:

The man talking to his friend has a beard

In the sentence, talking is adjective and not a part of the verb because it is not accompanied by some forms of be. The subject in this sentence is the man and the verb in this sentence is has.

The following example shows how a present participle can be confused with the verb in the Structure section of the TOEFL test.

Example:

The child ................playing in the yard is my son.

(A) now
(B) is
(C) he
(D) was

Analysis:
  • In this example, if you only look at the first words of the sentence, it appears that child is the subject and playing is part of the verb.
  • If you think that playing is a part of the verb, you might answer (B) is or (D) was to complete the sentence. Well, you are incorrect because playing is not a part of the verb.
  • Remember that playing is a present participle as adjective or participle adjective because there is not another verb (is) in the sentence. So you should answer (A), now, to complete the sentence.
  • The sentence has a subject (child) and complete verb (is).
Exercise 4:

1. The companies offering the lowest prices will have the most customers. (C)

    Analysis:
  • Offering is participle adjective.
  • Subject is the companies and complete verb is will have.
 2. Those travelers are completing their trip on Delta should report to Gate Three. (I)

     Analysis:
  • are completing is incorrect. It should be completing only because completing should be participle adjective, not part of the verb.
  • The correct sentence should be "Those travelers completing their trip on Delta should report to Gate Three."
3.  The artisans were demonstrating various handkerchiefs at booths throughout the fair. (C)

     Analysis:
  • demonstrating is a part of the verb because it is accompanied by were.
  • Subject is the artisans and complete verb is were demonstrating.
4. The fraternities are giving the wildest parties attract the most new pledges. (I)

    Analysis:
  • are giving is incorrect. It should be giving only because completing should be participle adjective, not a part of the verb.
  • The correct sentence should be "The fraternities giving the wildest parties attract the most new pledge". 
  • Subject is the fraternities and complete verb is attract.
5. The first team winning four games is awarded the championship. (C)

    Analysis:
  • winning is correct and function as a participle adjective.
  • Subject is the first team and complete verb is is.

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