Past Participial Phrase
A past participial phrase usually starts with a verb that is in the past participle form. It is used as an adjective to modify a noun in a sentence.
Her birthday cake baked by her has an octagon shape.
The past participial phrase baked by her modifies the noun cake. The verb baked is in the past participial form, and it heads the participial phrase. More on participial phrase.
A phrase is a group of words that functions as a single unit without a subject or a verb. Unlike a clause which contains a subject and a verb and conveys a complete idea, a phrase forms part of a clause or a sentence as it does not have a complete thought to stand on its own as an independent unit.
Every sentence is made up of two parts: a subject and a predicate. A predicate gives information about what the subject is or does. The predicate contains one main verb or more verbs and all its/their modifiers, objects or complements. More on predicate.




Predicates are underlined:

  • Simple predicate – This is a one-verb predicate: The baby cries.


  • Predicate of one verb and modifier of the verb: The baby cries loudly.


  • Predicate of one verb and a direct object: She wrote a letter


  • Predicate of linking verb and its complement: He is a musician. 
  • Compound predicate – A predicate of two verbs: We ate and drank at a pavement café.





Predicate Adjective
The predicate adjective modifies the subject of the sentence, which is unlike the predicate noun that renames the subject. But like the predicate noun, the predicate adjective follows an intransitive verb (am, is, are, was, were, has been, become, continue, grow, remain, seem, smell, sound, stay) and completes the predicate of a sentence.

The predicate adjective comes after the subject that it describes. In the sentence “The puppies are getting fat”, the predicate adjective fat modifies the subject puppies, and is connected to the subject by a linking verb are.



  • The path is crooked.
  • We are hungry.
  • He is nervous about his job interview.
  • The weather remains cold.
  • She sounded angry on the phone.




Present Participial Phrase
A present participial phrase usually starts with a verb that is in the present participle form. It is used as an adjective to modify a noun/subject in a sentence.


  • The family hoping for good weather is going horse riding.
    (The present participial phrase hoping for good weather modifies the noun familyHoping is the present participial form of the verb hope.)     


Pronouns can act as complements to identify or describe the subject. More on pronoun.



  • It is him as usual.
  • The biggest slice is mine.




Proper Adjective
A proper adjective is an adjective but unlike any other adjectives, it is capitalized. The reason for this is that it is formed from a proper noun which is always capitalized. For example, Hungary is a proper noun and Hungarian is a proper adjective.




  • I have planned to visit Hungary sometime in the near future. (Proper noun)
  • Listening to Hungarian folk music is a great way to relax. (Proper adjective)


The proper adjective Hungarian in the second sentence shows that a word beginning with a capital letter is not necessarily a proper noun. II is a proper adjective that modifies folk music. Besides modifying nouns, proper adjectives also modify pronouns.

Words for nationalities which are used to describe people from different countries are called proper adjectives.  As stated, all proper adjectives begin with a capital letter. Some examples of proper adjectives derived from names of countries: Albanian¸ Brazilian, German, Italian, Japanese; cities: Berliner (Berlin), New Yorker (New York), Parisian (Paris), Shanghainese (Shanghai); and region or state: Balinese (Bali), Québécoise (Quebec).



The following examples show proper adjectives in bold.

  • The Zulu are a Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa. 
    (Zulu is a proper noun while Bantu is a proper adjective.
  • Her husband has dual British and South African nationality.
  • Many Asian diners frequent that Chinese restaurant that also specializes in Thai cuisine.
  • A group of American and French tourists could be seen riding Arabian camels into the Saharan desert.



Proper adjectives and prefixes
A proper adjective may be used with a prefix or a hyphen. In such a combination, the proper adjective remains capitalized while the prefix is not capitalized.





  • Anti-Japanese sentiment still exists in some countries.
  • The pre-Mesozoic rocks are grouped together under the inclusive term "basement" rocks by some of the geologists.
  • “The post-Cambrian era was characterized by animal evolution.”
  • The group is being investigated for un-American activities..