Divas Rec: Participial Phrases? C’mon, You Made that Up

Posted by on Jul 23, 2015 in Divas Recommend | 2 comments

Divas Rec: Participial Phrases? C’mon, You Made that Up

Divas Recommend:

Participial Phrases? C’mon, You Made that Up

by Beth Hill

I admit it; incorrect grammar is a pet peeve of mine, and the misuse of participial phrases ranks right up there at the top of the list of grammar no-no’s. Dangling participles, misplaced modifiers, and nonsimultaneous participial phrases… those are the top three. I recently read the first book in series—I love a good series—and I was astounded at the number of mistimed participial phrases. I’d estimate that at least half of those participial phrases were absolutely impossible to perform at the same time as the action in the rest of the sentence. Half! Things like “Walking the dog, I drove to work.” Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but the point is the action in the participial phrase must be concurrent with the action in the rest of the sentence unless there’s a modifier stating it’s not. 

Oh, and the first sentence of the first book in the series had a misplaced modifier. First sentence. No, I’m not kidding. 

Therefore, my rec is “Participial Phrases? C’mon, You Made that Up” by Beth Hill at The Editor’s Blog. Great title, right? This article starts from step one and walks through what participles are, why we use them, and how to use them properly. It’s a must-read for all authors and editors. Go check it out!

What’s the oddest illogical participial phrase you’ve ever come across? Leave me a note in the comments!

Happy writing!

Jen Matera (125 Posts)

Jen Matera’s not only an editor; she’s also an accountant who has spent sixteen of the last twenty years working in the publishing industry. Jen is CFO and a founding Diva for Write Divas and specializes in manuscript evaluation and development, content editing, and copy editing. Jen has worked on books by such authors as: Alexandra Allred, Lissa Bryan, T.M. Franklin, Jennifer Schmidt, M.A. Stacie, and Mary Whitney.


  1. You say that “incorrect grammar is a pet peeve of mine”. Why then do you not use “number” rather than “amount” in “… the amount of mistimed participial…”? Number would be correct. Amount is both clumsy and wrong.

    • Oh, thank you kindly for pointing that out!
      And thanks for reading!

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