powered only by
human flies !
Is there something wrong with this headline?
One way to be more clear could be to write two
sentences: A helicopter flies. The helicopter is
powered only by a human. By using a phrase,
however, you can make one sentence that uses
fewer words and flows better: Powered only by a
human, a helicopter flies.
You can use phrases to improve your writing as
long as you make clear what the phrase goes with.
A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition, its object,
and any modifiers of the object.
An adjective prepositional phrase is a prepositional phrase
that modifies a noun or a pronoun.
A bird in the hand is better than one in the bush.
An adverb prepositional phrase is a prepositional phrase
that modifies a verb, an adjective or an adverb.
The tricky cuckoo lays its eggs in other birds’ nests.
Even cuckoo chicks are skillful at deception.
Soon after their emergence, they begin to imitate the other chicks.
Underline each prepositional phrase and tell whether it is an adjective
phrase or an adverb phrase.
Identify the word or words that it modifies.
1. The adult bee hummingbird belongs in any bird record book.
2. Its length of approximately two inches makes it the earth’s smallest bird.
An appositive is a noun or pronoun that identifies or
renames another noun or pronoun.
Leonardo da Vinci, the great Renaissance painter, was also an Inventor.
Rewrite each sentence, adding the appositive or appositive phrase shown
in parentheses. Include commas if necessary.
1. The Wright Brothers owned a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, in the late
1800s. (Wilbur and Orville).
2. Wilbur became interested in flying after reading a book about gliders.
(The older brother).
1. The Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville, owned a bicycle shop in Dayton,
Ohio, in the late 1800s.
2. Wilbur, the older brother, became interested in flying after reading a book
A verbal is a verb form that acts as a noun, an adjective, or
an adverb. They can be participles, gerunds or infinitives.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex walked on great oiled, striding legs.
A participle is a verb form that functions as an adjective. It
modifies nouns and pronouns.
Underline the participial phrase in each sentence, and indicate whether it
contains a present participle or a past participle.
1. Appreciated for their color and grace, butterflies are one of nature’s glories.
2. Pollinating at the same time, the butterflies help the flowers.
Flying an airplane while tired can be dangerous.
A gerund is a verb form that ends in –ing and functions as
Underline the gerund or gerund phrase in each sentence.
1. Birds sing as a means of communicating with others.
2. Screeching by one bird may alert others to a predator.
3. The response to this alarm calls is often dashing for cover.
4. With elaborate songs, males often try attracting females.
To find waters striders, look in a freshwater pond.
An infinitive is verb form usually beginning with the word
to, that can act as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.
Underline the infinitive or infinitive phrase in each sentence. Indicate if
it acts as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.
1. A queen bee, some drones, and many worker bees are needed to form a honeybee colony.
2. The queen bee’s main job is to lay eggs.
3. The all-female worker bees have a lot more work to do.
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