Participles themselves can be used as adjectives, but not adverbs:

"¢ This problem is confusing. (present participle)
"¢ I'm confused. (past participle).

However, the participial forms may appear in adverb phrases, like this:

"¢ While shopping at the mall, I ran into an old classmate.
"¢ After finishing our coffee, we lingered for a while at the table.
"¢ Driving through the countryside, we relaxed for the first time in years.
"¢ Driven by ambition, he quickly rose from congressman to senator.
"¢ Having spent a year abroad, Tom was ready to come home again.
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Here is a definition of "participle" from The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy*:

"The verb form that combines with an auxiliary verb to indicate certain tenses.

The present participle is formed by adding -ing to the infinitive; it indicates present action: "The girl is swimming"; "I am thinking." (Compare gerund.)

The past participle usually ends in -ed; it indicates completed or past action: "The gas station has closed"; "The mayor had spoken."

Participles may also function as adjectives: "Your mother is a charming person"; "This is a talking parrot"; "Spoken words cannot be revoked."

A "dangling" participle is one that is not clearly connected to the word it modifies: "Standing at the corner, two children walked past me." A better version of this example would be, "While I was standing at the corner, two children walked past me."

Rachel
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*The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Edited by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, and James Trefil. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2002
This phrase, as well as the examples in my previous posting, are adverb phrases, or what Betty Azar calls "modifying adverbial phrases" in Chapter 18 of Understanding and Using English Grammar.

Rachel
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*Understanding and Using English Grammar, Third Edition, by Betty Azar. Prentice Hall Regents. 1999

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