[In the following examples, the participle is bold and the participial phrase is underlined.]
- The car sliding out of control toward building will likely hit the window.
SLIDING modifies the CAR. The verb is WILL HIT.
- Cameron spotted his brother throwing rocks at the passing cars.
THROWING is not a verb in this sentence. It describes the brother. Without an auxiliary verb, it cannot function as a verb.
SPOTTED is the verb for the subject CARMEN.
- The astronaut chosen to ride the space shuttle to Mars is afraid of heights.
CHOSEN describes the ASTRONAUT.
- Running down the street, Alicia tripped and fell.
RUNNING certainly indicates something the subject is doing, but the verbs for the subject are TRIPPED and FELL.
- Penned in by other runners, Steve was unable to make a break for the finish line.
STEVE is the subject. WAS is the verb. PENNED describes STEVE.
- Mark returned the damaged package to the manufacturer.
Follow the steps to find the participle. What is the subject? MARK. What is the verb (i.e. what did Mark do?) RETURNED. And DAMAGED describes PACKAGE.
- Alex fell down the broken staircase.
BROKEN describes STAIRCASE.