Here are the examples:

1. Peel off the skin using a small knife.

2. Name two countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol using the list of countries given to you.

I believe both sentences have a participal phrase, and there is no comma necessary because the information is vital.

My questions:

1. What is the participle phrase actually modifying? The entire sentence? or just the verb?

2. Does the phrase function as an adjective?

3. Do all participle phrases practically follow the following construction?:

Pronoun + be + verb?

I may confuse participle phrases and reduced relative clauses here though.

A link on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Full Member218
vcolts1. Peel off the skin using a small knife.
2. Name two countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol using the list of countries given to you.
I believe both sentences have a participal phrase, and there is no comma necessary because the information is vital.
Correct. Note: Although they are called phrases, they are really non-finite clauses.

vcolts1. What is the participle phrase actually modifying? The entire sentence? or just the verb?
I'm not so sure "modifying" is the right word. You have a main clause and a participial clause. The participle clause is subordinate, so I suppose you could say it modifies the main clause, but just noting that it's subordinate seems enough.

vcolts2. Does the phrase function as an adjective?
No. It's adverbial in nature. It answers the question "How?"

vcolts3. Do all participle phrases practically follow the following construction?:
Pronoun + be + verb?
Why are you starting with a pronoun? Most of the time participle clauses start with the -ing form of a verb. I think your 'pronoun + be + verb' formula must apply to something else.

CJ
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Anonymous:
1. The phrase "using a small knife" functions as an adverb and modifies the verb "Peel off." This would be similar to a sentence like, "Peel off the skin skilfully." Here the adv. "skilfully" modifies the verb "Peel off." In sentence 1. the whole phrase, "using a small knife," functions like the single adv. "skilfully."

2. The phrase "using the list of countries given to you" functions as an adv. and modifies the verb "Name." Note that the clause "that signed the Kyoto Protocol" functions as an adj. and modifies "countries." Also note that the phrase "given to you" functions as an adj. and modifies the noun "list". Further note that the phrase "of countries" functions as an adj. and also modifies the noun "list."
Hi guys,

2. Name two countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol using the list of countries given to you.

I have another opinion about this.

The position of the using phrase with no comma makes it sound to me like it modifies 'signed'. It's only by considering the ridiculous meaning that this gives that you can see it is not intended.

You see this more clearly if you consider

eg Name two countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol using the gold pen and not the silver one.

I would reword the original sentence as

2. Using the list of countries given to you, name two ( countries ) that signed the Kyoto Protocol .

I'd also accept, a little more reluctantly,

2. Name two countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol, using the list of countries given to you.

Clive
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