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Participle: Definition and Examples

Participles are the legendary part of speech that appears to be a verb but frequently functions as an adjective. They can be flawless. They can be ongoing. Are there any goals they can't accomplish? They can't teach you the language, but that shouldn't be an issue for you.

Read on to learn everything about participles!

Participle: Definition and Examples

So you've probably heard the term participle before, but you're not sure what it means. Or perhaps you understand what it means and are not really sure how to utilize those troublesome participles. After all, participles are a component of what makes those pesky irregular verbs so... pesky. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let us define a participle.

What Exactly Is a Participle?

A participle is a kind of term that is derived from a verb and can be utilized as an adjective or to build verb tenses. Participles are regarded as a distinct part of speech besides verbs, but they resemble the verbs from which they derive.

The verb stroll, for example, can be transformed into the participles strolled and strolling. If you are a verb expert, you will realize that those two terms are the past and present tense forms of the stroll. And you'd be correct! As we previously stated, participles frequently resemble verbs. However, participles can perform a variety of functions that verbs cannot and can assist a verb in expressing certain complex actions.

Participles are a type of verb that serves two functions :

  1. To alter nouns, transform the verb into an adjective.
  2. Combine with auxiliary verbs to form new tenses, like the present perfect tense.

Here is an instance of a participle being used as an adjective: Assume you're in the park, admiring the foxes. One fox is eating while the other is running. You might tell them apart by saying things like, "Look at the eating fox" or "Look at the running fox."

Participle: Definition and Examples

The verbs eat and run are not operating as verbs in these situations; they are serving as adjectives since they alter the noun fox.

Take caution not to mix up participles with infinitives, which are another type of verb that can alter nouns.

Infinitives normally begin with the verb to, while participles do not.

[participle] a cooling beverage.

[infinitive] a beverage to cool.

The second function of participles is to generate various verb tenses, notably flawless and continuous tenses.

For instance, if you are doing something now or soon, you are using the present continuous tense, which is created by the verb be as well as a present participle, or -ing version, of the verb.

I am having dinner right now.

Every verb, including impersonal verbs, has a participle form. Furthermore, because there are two sorts of participles-the present participle and the past participle-each verb has a couple of alternative participles from which to choose.

Let's take a look at each type separately.

Present Participles

Present participles are generally easier to work with than past participles. Usually, verbs' present participle is formed by adding -ing to the base form of the verb.

The present participle of the exhibit, for example, is exhibiting. When it relates to present participles, even irregular verbs adhere to the guidelines. Being, for instance, is the present participle of the notoriously troublesome verb be.

Present participles can perform many of the same functions as perfect participles:

1. Adjectives: A present participle can be used as an adjective to alter a noun (or noun equivalent).

She purchased new walking shoes.

2. Participle phrases: Participle phrases can also use present participles.

Thinking fast, Helen threw a cushion under the jar before it struck the floor.

The present participle is employed in continuous tenses or as an adjective to describe a current action.

  • The birdie is chirping outside my doorway.
  • The chirping birdie is outside my doorway.

The present participle of most verbs is formed by inserting -ing to the end.

[main verb] travel

traveling [present participle]

Similarly, Go is the main verb, and going will be the present participle for the same.

There are, however, some exceptions for words finishing in -c, -i.e., or a mute -e, as well as syllables concluding in a vowel and a consonant.

For verbs finishing with the alphabet -c, just include a -k before -ing.

For instance

Mimic becomes mimicking.

For verbs finishing with the -i.e., alter the -i.e., into a -y before attaching -ing.

For instance ;

Dye becomes Dyeing.

For verbs finishing with the silent -e, just exclude the -e and then attach -ing.

Manage becomes Managing ;

Please notice that this does not cover terms ending in a double -e. Verbs ending in -ee adhere to the normal requirements.


seeing ;

When finishing a verb with a vowel and a consonant, double the consonant before attaching -ing.

run becomes running ;

admit becomes admitting ;

There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. If a word includes two syllables and ends in a single vowel and a single consonant, but the second syllable is not emphasized, you can attach -ing without modifying anything.

Visit becomes visiting ;

(In UK English, if a term finishes with a single vowel and a), such as cancel, you add an extra l before -ing, as in canceling. In American English, you would be using canceling since the second syllable is not emphasized.)

3. Continuous verb tenses: Present participles, as past participles, can be used to produce six different verb tenses.

Present continuous: We are having dinner.

Past continuous: We were having dinner.

Future continuous: We will be having dinner for some while yet.

Present perfect continuous: We have been having dinner for only just a few seconds.

Past perfect continuous: We had been having dinner when the bell rang.

Future perfect continuous: We will have been having dinner for only 5 minutes by the time the managers tell us to pack up and go home.

Examples Of the Present Participle

The following list contains numerous examples of present participles.

Approaching, biting, transporting, doing, engaging, flying, speculating, expecting, inching, thrusting, kissing, studying, mixing, snoozing, opening, placing, quieting, jogging, sewing, chatting, uncovering, visiting, and watching

Participle: Definition and Examples

Past Participles

Past participles can get very complicated based on the verb you are working with. A past participle is normally generated for regular verbs by attaching -ed to the ending of the root form of the verb, which may be found by looking up a word in our dictionary. For instance, the past participle of the flick is Flicked. Even with ordinary verbs, there are frequent deviations from this basic guideline. Irregular verbs don't follow this criterion at all-for instance, the past participle of take is taken.

So, what do past participles do? Past participles are generally used for three purposes:

1. Adjectives: A past participle can be used as an adjective to alter a noun (or noun equivalent).

We were fatigued after mopping up the garage.

2. Participle Phrases: A participle phrase is a lengthier adjectival phrase that modifies a noun with a participle as well as other parts of speech (or noun equivalent).

Sickened by the foul stench, Greg put the dirty shoes outdoors.

3. Perfect Verb Tenses: The six ideal verb tenses are formed using past participles. The perfect tenses employ the assisting verb have and a past participle, while the perfect continuous tenses additionally use the verb be as a past participle (been).

Present perfect tense: The goat has leaped over the barricade.

Past perfect tense: The goat had already leaped over the barricade.

Future perfect tense: The goat will have leaped over the barricade by the time we come.

Present perfect continuous tense: These goats have been leaping over that barricade since I initiated working here.

Past perfect continuous tense: The goat had been leaping over the barricade for years before we constructed a bigger gate.

Future perfect continuous tense: The goat will have been leaping over that barricade for hours by the time I take a nap.

Examples Of Past Participles

The two lists below provide instances of past participles.

Regular verbs include: acted, hired, hopped, muttered, hesitated, studied, ventured

Irregular verbs include: stuck, done, found, had, ridden, seen, and worn.

The past participle is employed in perfect tenses or as an adjective to describe a completed action. It's also an important part of employing the passive voice, which we'll go over later.

I have finished my document already.

I changed in my finished paper.

The past participle is identical to the simple past tense for ordinary verbs. That is, simply append -ed to the end.

[primary verb] stroll ;

[Past Perfect] strolled.

There are particular restrictions for verbs concluding in -c, -e, or a consonant and -y, as well as nouns finishing in one vowel and one consonant, as there are for the present participle.

For verbs concluding in -c, add a -k before the -ed.

Picnic becomes picnicked.

For verbs finishing in -e, attach only -d.

hope becomes hoped.

For verbs finishing in a consonant and -y, substitute the -y with an -i prior to attaching -ed.

Study becomes studied.

For verbs finishing in one vowel and one consonant, makes the consonant double by prior attaching the terms -ed.

For instance ;

stop becomes stopped ;

prefer becomes preferred.

If a word ends in a singular vowel and a singular consonant and has two syllables, but the subsequent syllable is not emphasized, you attach -ed without modifying anything.

So, for instance ;

listen becomes listened ;

The most difficult aspect of past participles is irregular verbs. Several irregular verbs have unusual past participles that defy the norms. Unfortunately, you must learn each irregular verb and its corresponding past participle.

  • For the irregular verb, see the past participle would be seen ;
  • For the irregular verb, do the past participle would be done.

How To Utilize the Present Participle In The Continuous Tenses

The continuous tenses require the present participle as well as a conjugated version of the verb be. Only the primary verb is conjugated when employing a continuous tense-the present participle always utilizes the same -ing type in the present continuous, past continuous, and future continuous tenses.

Present Continuous

[present form of be] + [present participle] ;

He is going to the prom tonight.

Past Continuous

[past form of be] + [present participle] ;

I was meditating when my dog jumped on my stomach.

Future Continuous

[will] + [be] + [present participle] ;

He will be jogging for the red team in the next competition.

How Do You Employ the Present Participle in The Perfect Continuous Tenses?

The present participle, just like basic continuous tenses, is also utilized for the perfect continuous tenses: present perfect continuous, past perfect continuous, and future perfect continuous. In all three cases, the identical format of the present participle is utilized.

Present Perfect Continuous

[has/have] + [been] + [present participle] ;

He couldn't watch the movie because I have been studying late all weekend.

Past Perfect Continuous

[had] + [been] + [present continuous] ;

The jet had normally been moving before a thunderstorm struck the wings.

Future Perfect Continuous

[will] + [have] + [been] + [present continuous] ;

In December, we will have been romancing for 3 years.

How Do You Employ the Past Participle In The Perfect Tenses?

The present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect all require the use of the past participle. The past participle stays identical in each perfect tense, regardless of the auxiliary verbs.

Present Perfect

[has/have] + [past participle] ;

They have rehearsed for this event their entire life.

Past Perfect

[has] + [past participle] ;

By the time the officers reached, the robber had escaped.

Future Perfect

[will] + [have] + [past participle] ;

He will have gone office already when the lunch arrives.

How Do You Use the Past Participle in The Passive Voice?

We propose employing the active voice wherever possible in the dispute over active vs. passive voice. However, in some cases, the passive voice is inevitable. Utilize the conjugated form of the verb be with the past participle in these circumstances.

[conjugated form of be] + [past participle] ;

I am known for my brevity.

The jeep was followed through the highway.

What Exactly Is a Participial Phrase?

Since a participle can function as an adjective, it may also form an adjective phrase, called as a "participial phrase. "

Participial phrases, like adjective phrases, are sets of terms that begin with a participle and work with each other to define a noun.

They tried to avoid the individual wearing a red costume.

The remaining words in a participial phrase describe how the act in the participle is carried out. Wearing is the participle in the instance above, and a red dress explains what the individual was wearing, but the full phrase works together to define the individual.

Similarly, participial phrases might include prepositional words that explain the action of the participle, like when or where it is accomplished.

Strolling on the beach, we saw the kid again.

If a participial phrase appears at the start of a sentence, use a comma after it. If the participial phrase occurs after the word it is changing, no comma is required.

The scary man saw us running on the road.

Always insert a participial phrase right next to the noun it is changing; otherwise, you risk making the grammatical error called the dangling participle.

What Exactly Are Perfect Participles?

Since they use the perfect tense, perfect participles are a sort of participial phrase that begins with having. They are very important for explaining the order of events, such as displaying an event or scenario that happened before another circumstance or event.

Having visited London before, he became a regular tour person.

In a perfect participle, there are two participles. The first is the adjective participle version of the word have, in this case having, and the second is the present perfect tense past participle, in this case, visited.

If you become perplexed, consider dividing the sentence into two new sentences.

I have visited London before. I became a regular tour person&.

What Exactly Is a Dangling Participle?

A dangling participle, also referred to as a dangling modifier, occurs when a participial phrase alters the incorrect noun due to erroneous placement.

Note that participial phrases affect the noun immediately adjacent to them; thus, if they are positioned incorrectly, their meaning changes.

Driving down the road, my cat stuck his tail out of the window. - Incorrect.

The participial phrase, i.e., driving down the road in this instance of a dangling participle, refers to the noun phrase adjacent to it. In this case, the noun phrase is my dog cat. That is, this sentence is true only if the cat is driving!

When beginning a statement with a participial phrase, always consider what word comes after it. To make your statement correct, you may need to rephrase it.

While he was driving down the road, my cat stuck his tail out of the window.

Participle Examples

The participle examples have been highlighted in bold for your reference.

  1. The cupboard was full of tantalizing goodies.
  2. He has a bag covered in badges.
  3. She has been gazing at that portrait for hours.
  4. The Pink Dog had hidden so many eggs.
  5. Having reviewed the proof earlier, the spy was unconvinced of the person's guilt.
  6. I misplaced my gaming apparel.
  7. Did you purchase the washing detergent ?
  8. Did you incorporate baking soda into your pie mixture ?
  9. I think the cleaning device has an issue.
  10. Rema utilized the sealing string to close the packet for the moment.
  11. Are you having the medicines timely ?
  12. They are making progress.
  13. He will be departing in some minutes.
  14. He has been trying to solve the problem.
  15. She has a broken leg.
  16. The terrified woman rushed to her husband.
  17. My sister likes grilled mutton.
  18. I purchased a pair of colored socks for my daughter.
  19. He has workedvery hard for this success.
  20. They have sealed the packet for the journey.

What are the Functions of Participles ?

Participles as Multipart Verbs :

Present and past participles can be utilized to form verb forms. The verb forms usually include perfect and progressive tenses.

Example verb infinitive: to talk ;

  1. I was talking. (This is a past progressive form )
  2. I had talked. (This is a past perfect form )
  3. I had been talking. (This is a past perfect progressive form )
  4. I am talking. (This is a present progressive form )
  5. I have talked. (This is a present perfect form )
  6. I have been talking. (This is a present perfect progressive form )
  7. I will be talking (This is a future progressive form )
  8. I will have talked (This is a future perfect form )
  9. I will have been talking (This is a future perfect progressive form )

Participles as Adjectives :

Present and past participles can be utilized as adjectives to alter nouns. Participles as adjectives will reply to the question "What type or kind?" in connection to the noun.

1. Silky cloth.

What kind of cloth? Silky.

2. White Egg.

What kind of Egg? White.

3. lightning thunderstorm.

What kind of thunderstorm? Lightning.

4. Huge book.

What kind of book? Huge.

5. Grilled fish.

What kind of fish? Grilled.

Why Are Participants Important?

Understanding participles is critical whether you're learning or teaching English since adjectives, verb tense, and the passive voice are all crucial language skills.

If you are a native English speaker, you almost definitely utilize present and past participles without thinking about grammar. And in general, participles are not to blame for several writing errors made by native speakers.

What's more intriguing is that participles can bring some useful advantages. With that in mind, consider the following two compelling reasons to reconsider your use of participles.

(Reason 1) Participles enable a sentence structure that permits you to convey two or more things in a concise manner.

Participles can be utilized to construct a sentence structure that allows you to communicate two or more things about your subject effectively.

As an example :

1. Infused with rational thinking and technical expertise, John is adept at recognizing budget solutions to business issues.

(In this instance, a past participle (bold) is embedded in a participle phrase (underlined). )

2. Displaying threshold-headedness in all business relationships, Jane listens consciously and participates appropriately when in dispute.

(In this example, a present participle (bold) is embedded in a participle phrase (underlined). )

This participle-first pattern is very handy when writing personal evaluations. It enables you to include an additional observation on your subject in a single statement.

(Reason 2) Passive sentences offer several advantages.

Since past participles are employed to construct passive sentences, it is worth noting that passive sentences have several advantages. Passive sentences are very beneficial for;

(1) avoiding guilt.

(2) Use a neutral or objective tone of voice.

(3) Demonstrate that the perpetrator is unimportant, unknown, or evident.

(4) Highlight the subject.

(5) Repeat the same subject twice.

Next TopicPresent Participle

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