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Recently, I have realized that there are huge gaps in my knowledge in terms of grammar, so I have begun learning some of the basics. One thing I am trying to learn is the participial phrase. I understand that a participle is a verb that can be used as an adjective which is used to modify a word, phrase or clause, but sometimes it confuses me. For example, in the sentence...

'Leaping over the hurdles, Cindy appeared as graceful as an antelope." I understand that 'Leaping over the hurdles" is the participial phrase since it modifies Cindy, but why is "appeared as graceful as an antelope' not a participial phrase aswell? From what I see, it describes Cindy being as graceful as an antelope, plus the word 'appeared' is a past participle isnt it?

Thank you so much.

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Leaping over the hurdles, Cindy appeared as graceful as an antelope.

Here, Leaping is a present participle. But appeared is not a past participle but a finite verb in the past tense, because appear is always an intransitive verb, i.e., it cannot have an object.

If you want to use an intransitive verb as a participle, it can rarely be in the form of a past participle unless it is used in a perfect construction, as in:

Cindy has appeared as graceful as an antelope.

Therefore, if you want to use an intransitive verb as a participle outside a perfect construction, it should normally be in the form of a present participle only, as in:

Cindy leaped over the hurdles, appearing as graceful as an antelope.

Here, leaped is finite verb in the past tense, and appearing is a present participle.

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