Parenthetical Phrases

A parenthetical phrase gives extra information to a sentence that is already complete.

If you remove the parenthetical phrase, the sentence still functions perfectly – it just isn’t as detailed.


These are the 8 types of parenthetical phrases: (written in italics)

Introductory phrase:

  • Many years ago, Andrew’s brother told him the worst ghost story he’d ever heard.


  • Well, you could at least try to have fun.
  • Oooo, I don’t think so.
  • Wait, tell me about your trip.


  • There are more than 800,000 known species of insects living in the world, in case you didn’t know.
  • By the way, you never told me that.


  • Dr. Phillip K. Aston, a researcher at Miami University, has discovered a cure for cancer.
  • When I was done with it, I gave the movie script to Hans, my friend who works for Universal Studios.

Absolute phrase:

  • The shooting victim, his eyes rolled completely back into his head, was clearly dead.
  • I found your grandfather running down Market Street carrying fish, cats chasing him and meowing the whole way.

Free modifier:

  • Realizing they were broke, Mario and Elizabeth ended their vacation and returned home.

Resumptive modifier:

  • February’s nasty winter weather culminated in a ferocious snowstorm, a snowstorm that would be remembered many years later.

Summative modifier:

  • When we told her the news, Andrea went into a blind rage, something she had never done before and hasn’t done since.


Leave a Reply