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Participle Modifiers with Prepositions

Describing emotional reactions

 

 

 

Participle modifiers are paired with specific prepositions. 

convinced
concerned
amused
frustrated
pleased
entertained
surprised
confused
 

 

 

Compare the word forms: 

ACTIVE VOICE  (verb) PASSIVE VOICE  (verb) PARTICIPLE  MODIFIER 

A verb is the past tense focus on the action.

A passive verb focuses on the receiver. With the by-phrase, the clause is clearly passive. Without the by-phrase, the word form could be a modifier.

A participial modifier complements the verb be. The optional prepositional phrase adds additional information.

NP BY PHRASE VERB + PREP  EXPRESSION

The question surprised the President.

He was surprised (by the question.)

He was surprised at the question. (with, by)

The response confused the President.

He was confused (by the response.)

He was confused by  the response.

The news amused the President.

He was amused (by the news.)

He was amused with the news. (with, by)

He entertained the press.

The press was entertained (by the President.)

The press was entertained by the President.

The problem concerned the President.

He was concerned (by the problem.)

He was concerned with the situation. (over, about)

The situation frustrated the President.
 

He was frustrated (by the situation.)

He was frustrated with the situation.  (by)

See Part Mod 2 -ed / -ing

Categories:  NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Detdeterminer; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; AdvP – adverb phrase; Adv – adverb; AdjP– adjective phrase; Adj – adjective

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participle + Preposition

Verb Complements

Fred Armisen and Barak Obama
Comedian Fred Armisen /Barack Obama
 

 

 

Participle+Preposition Complements

NOUN or GERUND COMPLEMENT

A  "be" verb (stative verb) commonly occurs before a participle + preposition combination. The expression is often followed by a noun phrase or a gerund clause.

PARTICIPLE + PREP NP / GER COMPLEMENT

The President was surprised at

Fred's gestures. (NP)

his gesturing(GER)

He was amused by / with

his style of speaking.

hearing his speech patterns.

He was impressed with

Fred's talent.

his being so talented.

He was entertained by

the comedian's routine.

watching his routine.

He was pleased about

the crowd's response.

their responding well.

WH-CLAUSE COMPLEMENT

In a similar way, the participle + preposition combination may be followed by a wh-clause (who, whom, who, where, when, how, why).

PARTICIPLE + PREP WH-CLAUSE COMPLEMENT

The President was surprised at

how good Fred was.

 

He was amused by / with

what Fred said.

 

He was impressed with

how talented Fred was.

 

He was entertained by

how Fred's routine.

He was pleased about

how they responded.

 

 

complement – a word, phrase or clause which is necessary in a sentence to complete its meaning.
gestures (n.) – movement with hands, head, and facial expressions
(NP) – noun phrase; (GER) – gerund or gerund clause (nonfinite clause)

You can use the COCA(BYU) database to find out how a particular expression is used in current writing and journalism. Enter the two-word expression and click search and check "context":  http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participle Modifier

Paired Preposition List

 

 

 

Participles Paired with Prepositions   (Use may vary.)

ABOUT AT BY FROM

aggrieved about  (unfairly treated)

accomplished at 

amused by / with

alienated from

annoyed about / with

adept at  (skilled)

confused by

divorced from

concerned about

alarmed at

delighted about/at/by/with

kept from

confused about / by

amazed at

distressed by

made from / of

defensive about

amused at / by / with

embarrassed by

protected from

delighted about/at/by/with

angry at / with

encouraged by

removed from

excited about

astonished at

entertained by

refrained from

pleased about

delighted about/at/by/with

exhausted by

stopped from

undecided about

gifted at  (skilled)

frightened by

separated from

AGAINST

pleased at / with

impressed by

FOR

discriminated against

puzzled at

influenced by

known for

rallied against

skilled at

overwhelmed by

prepared for

 

surprised at/ by/ with

relaxed by

qualified for

 

talented at

terrified by

remembered for

 

 

worried by

 

 

 

 

IN OF TO WITH

bathed in sunlight

ashamed of

accustomed to

amused with

clothed in

composed of

addicted to

acquainted with

covered in / with

convinced of

committed to

annoyed about/at

disappointed in / by/ with

frightened of / by

connected to

associated with

dressed in

made of / from

dedicated to

blessed with

engaged in work

scared of

devoted to

bored with

interested in

terrified of

engaged to

coordinated with

involved in

tired of

limited to

covered with

rooted in (origin)

 

married to

crowded with

   

opposed to

delighted by/with/at

   

related to

disappointed with/in

 

ON / UPON

 

fascinated with/by

 

based on (origin)

 

filled with

 

bent on (intent on)

 

finished with

 

(dependent on)

 

frustrated with

 

 

 

furnished with

 

OVER

 

impressed with/by

 

passed over

 

pleased with

 

 

 

satisfied with

 

 

 

upset with

(Huddleston 6 §.3.1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participial Modifiers

Coordinated with "and"

 

 

 

Coordinating [Participle + Preposition] Expressions

PARTICIPLES WITH SAME PREPOSITION

When coordinating two or more participle + preposition expressions, the preposition after the first participle may be omitted if it is the same preposition used after the second participle.

PREPOSITION OMITTED

He is excited about and concerned about the new project.  (Omit it.)

We were amused by and delighted by/with his news.

They were connected to and devoted to their children.

*He was skilled and known for creating unusual works of art.

PARTICIPLES WITH DIFFERENT PREPOSITIONS

The preposition in the first participle + prep expression must be included if it differs from the preposition in second participle + prep expression.

PREPOSITION INCLUDED

He is excited about and pleased with its progress.  (Do not omit it.)

We were horrified by and shocked at his news.

They were blessed with and devoted to their children.

He was skilled at and known for creating unusual works of art.

 

connected to/with (expression) — share an understanding, have good communication with

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Errors and Solutions

ERROR

He was interesting seeing the movie. 

I was embarrassing what she said.

She is both excited about and eager to go out.

(The verbal phrases require different complements.)

She was both excited about and stopped from going out.

(The verbal phrases contrast and do not keep to a central idea.)

He has been associated, mentored and sponsored by Nike for ten years.

SOLUTION

He was interested in seeing the movie. 
(The preposition "in" may be heard as -ing. The participial modifier  "interested" is paired with the preposition "in".)

I was embarrassed by what she said.

See embarrassed expressions.   

She is both excited about and looking forward to going out(gerund)

She both wants and is eager to go out(infinitive)

She was both excited about and looking forward to going out.  (similar idea of excitement)

She was stopped and restrained from going out.  (similar idea of blockage)

He has been associated with, mentored and sponsored by Nike for ten years.

He has been associated with, mentored by and sponsored by Nike for ten years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional Grammar and Linguistic Description

(Advanced)

 

 

 

TRADITIONAL GRAMMAR LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

In traditional grammar, this structure is called a "participle + preposition" , "passive + participle" or "-ed adjective + preposition" combination. 

He was [excited about] the news

He was [excited over] the news.

He was excited by the news.  (passive)

(Azar 11-6)

Native speakers often have strong opinions about which preposition follows a particular participle. However, usage varies among speakers of English dialects.

 

"By is used after passive verbs to introduce the agent (the person or thing that does the action…" (Swan 410.5)

She was frightened by a mouse.  ("by" indicates frightened is a verb)

She was frightened of dying.  ("of" indicates frightened is an adjective indicating state of mind [be + -ed form]) 

In linguistic analysis, this structure is a participle-form verb with a complement (adjunct) of an prepositional phrase. Note that the phrase is optional.

"Many adjectives license complements in post-head position. Like the post-head complements in NP structure, those is AdjPs almost invariably have the form of PPs or clauses." (Huddleston 542)

He was excited.

He was excited [with the news] [by the news] [because of the news] [due to the news] [over having won the lottery].

In current description, a preposition can be complemented by a wide variety of structures. See Complement Types of Prepositions.

"The structure of AdjPs: Complementation" (Huddleston 6 §3.1)

"Adjectives vs. Verbs" (Huddleston 6 §2.4.3)

Categories:  NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Detdeterminer; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; AdvP – adverb phrase; Adv – adverb; AdjP– adjective phrase; Adj – adjective; Subord – Subordinator;  Coord – Coordinator; Interj – Interjection

Complement:  an element that is required by the subject or verb (e.g., object, indirect object, predicative complement)  Adjunct: an optional element such as a modifier  (Adj,  Adv, PP, a subordinate clause, a supplemental clause)

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Pairing Prepositions with Participle Modifiers

 

 

 

Decide which preposition to use with each participial modifier.

  1. Select the word from each menu that best completes the sentence. (Preposition usage varies among English speaking communities.)
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button. 

 

1.
mouse looking at cheese in mouse trap

2.
disappointed man

3.
muscle man

4.
couch potato

5.
wizard

6.
city

7.
tape

8.
sea horse fish

9.
kid running

10.
TV reporter

11.
groom carrying bride

12.
old-fashioned woman

 

 

More Practices:  Participle-Prep Prac  |  Gerund Objects  |  Verb + PP Prac 1  |  Verb + PP Prac 2  | Verb + PP Prac 3 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Jeannie's Nose Ring

nose ring
 

Read for Coordinated Word Errors

Jeannie has a new nose ring. She is both delighted and defensive about it. Jeannie's parents were upset and puzzled at their daughter's decision. Her parents think she will be passed over and discriminated against because of her nose piercing. They believe the piercing will alienate her from potential employers and keep her from making new client contacts. They say their belief is based and supported by research by Northwestern University. One psychologist said that the display of tattoos and wearing of body piercings is rooted and influenced by a person’s desire to be rebellious.

Jeannie is annoyed and frustrated with this conservative way of thinking.  For centuries, a number of cultures have engaged and celebrated rites with body tattoos and piercings. Jeannie feels that piercing one's nose is similar and not different than piercing one's ears, which is a common beauty practice. Jeannie keeps reminding her parents that opinions and judgments about people with body piercings are changing.

alienate (v.) — make distant, make unwilling to support you

annoy (v.) — bother, irritate, displease

century (n.) — 100 years

conservative (adj.) — not liking changes or new ideas

defensive (adj.) — behaving in a way that shows you think someone is criticizing you even if they are not

discriminated (participle) — be treated differently from another in an unfair way

engage (v.) — participate

judgment / judgment (n.) — to think over and form an opinion; assess and conclude

pass over (verbal expression) — overlook, not appreciate

piercing (n.) — a hole made through part of your body so that you can put jewelery there, or the process of making the hole

potential (adj.) — possible in the future

psychologist (n.) — someone who is trained in psychology

puzzle (v.) — confuse, find something hard to understand

rebellious (adj.) — willingly disobeying rules; behaving in a way that goes against authority

rites (n.) — a ceremony that is always performed in the same way, usually for religious purposes

 

 

 

 

Decide whether the preposition should be included with the coordinated word forms (verbs, adjectives and nouns).

  1. Select the parallel word form that best completes the sentence.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 21-30" button.

 

13.
Jeannie has a new nose ring, and she is both excited and defensive about it.

   

14.
Jeannie's parents were upset and puzzled at their daughter's decision.

   

15.
Her parents think she will be passed and discriminated against because of her nose piercing.

   

16.
They believe the piercing will alienate her from potential employers and keep her from making new client contacts.

   

17.
They say their belief is based and supported by the research done by Northwestern University.

   

18.
One psychologist said that the display of tattoos and wearing of body piercings is rooted and influenced by a person’s desire to be rebellious.

   

19.
Jeannie is annoyed and frustrated with this conservative way of thinking.

   

20.
For centuries, a number of cultures have engaged and celebrated rites with body tattoos and piercings.

   

21.
Jeannie feels that piercing one's nose is similar and not different than piercing one's ears, which is a common beauty practice.

   

22.
Jeannie keeps reminding her parents that opinions and judgments about people with body piercings are changing.