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What part of speech is “walking” in the following example:

She left the scene, walking toward town.

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  • Participial phrase. It is similar to "Walking toward town, she left the scene."
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 0:17
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    "Walking" is a verb.
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 9:32

3 Answers 3

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"Walking toward town" is an adverbial phrase, and modifies the verb "left."

"Walking" answers the question, "How did she leave town?" Therefore it is an adverb.

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  • I didn't know that adverbs took complements.
    – tchrist
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 0:46
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    Yes, "Walking towards town" is an adjunct (your adverbial phrase), but it's a supplement not a modifier, so it's not modifying "left".
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 9:35
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I'm wondering if this is an adjective phrase or an adverbial phrase. I'm not a grammar expert so maybe someone else can chip in.

If it's an adjective phrase in which "walking" modifies "she", then the sentence structure sounds weird. While she's walking, she left town?

If it's an adverbial phrase in which "walking" modifies "left", then I believe you omit the comma. With the comma, it indicates that "walking" is modifying the complete sentence or the subject, "she".

So, the sentence should be "She left the scene walking toward town."

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"walking" is a gerund used as an adverb, modifying "left"

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