Participles in English Grammar

Participles in English Grammar

A participle is a word that is formed from a verb and is used to make compound verb forms. We have 2 kinds of participles: past and present participle.

Participles

Participles are words formed with verbs that are used with auxiliary verbs to create different tenses.

Participles in English Grammar

There are two kinds of participles in English language:

  1. present participle
  2. past participle

Present Participle

A present participle is the form of the verb that ends in -ing and is used with the verb 'to be' to form continuous tenses.

  • watch + -ing → watching
  • say + -ing → saying
  • sit + -ing → sitting

Present Participle: Spelling Rules

Normally we just add -ing. But sometimes we have to change the word a little. Here are the rules to help you know how to spell the Present Participle:

  • If the verb ends in consonant + stressed vowel + consonant, double the last letter.

stop → stopping

"O" is the stressed vowel.

run → running

"U" is the stressed vowel.

  • If the verb ends in consonant + unstressed vowel + consonant, (the base verb is not stressed) do not double the last letter.

open → opening

'E' is unstressed.

  • If the verb ends in 'ie', change the 'ie' to 'y'.

lie → lying

die → dying

  • If the verb ends in vowel + consonant + 'e', omit the 'e'.

come → coming

mistake → mistaking

Present Participle: Uses

Present Participle has different functions:

  1. It is used to form continuous tenses.
  2. It is used as an adjective.
  3. It is used as a verbal noun.

Present Participle: Continuous Tenses

In order to create continuous tenses in English, we should use the present participle. In this case, the present participle is also called the gerund.
We have 6 continuous tense in English:

Present Continuous Chelsea is washing the dishes.
Past Continuous Chelsea was watching TV.
Future Continuous Chelsea will be eating dinner with friends.
Present Perfect Continuous Chelsea has been studying.
Past Perfect Continuous Chelsea had been taking a shower.
Future Perfect Continuous Chelsea will have been visiting her grandmother.

Present Participle: Adjectives

Present participles (also called verbal adjective) can be used as adjectives in sentences. All verbal adjectives replace a verbal clause.

The rain was pouring → the pouring rain

Pouring can be an adjective.

the kid is smiling and looking at me → The smiling kid is looking at me .

Remember, adjectives usually are put before nouns unless they are the complements of the sentence.

Present Participle: Nouns

Present participle can also be used as a noun. It can take the role of subject of the verb, object of the verb, object of the preposition, the complement of a verb and part of a compound noun in English.

Stealing is a crime .

Here, the present participle is the subject of a verb.

He tried to quit smoking .

Here, the present participle is the object of a verb.

One of his hobbies is jogging .

Here, the present participle is the complement of a verb.

What I like most about swimming is feeling refreshed after it .

Here, the present participle is the object of a preposition.

I put the dirty clothes in the washing machine .

Here, the present participle is a part of a compound noun.

Past Participle

Past participle is a form of a verb that usually ends in -d or -ed and can have many functions. However, some verbs don't form their past participle by adding -ed or -d suffix. They are called irregular verbs.

watch + ed → watched

The pronunciation of 'ed' is /t/.

walk + ed → walked

The same as watched.

bake + d → baked

We just add 'ed', but the pronunciation is the same as walked and watched.

Now look at some examples of the irregular verbs.

sing → sung

The best way to learn irregular verbs is to memorize them from dictionary.

eat → eaten

run → run

Past Participle: Spelling Rules

Here are the spelling rules for the formation of the past participle of regular verbs:

  • If the verb ends in a vowel + 'y' add 'ed'.

play → played

'Ed' is pronounced /d/.

employ → employed

  • If the verb ends in a consonant + 'y', 'y' changes to '-i' before 'ed'.

study → studied

'Ied' is pronounced /ɪd/

hurry → hurried

Same as 'study'.

  • If the verb ends in a vowel 'e' add 'd' after it.

live → lived

'Ed' is pronounced /d/.

dance → danced

/Ed/ is pronounced /t/.

  • If a monosyllabic verb ends in consonant + vowel + consonant, double the final consonant before 'ed'.

stop → stopped

/Ed/ is pronounced /t/.

plan → planned

'Ed' is pronounced /d/.

  • If the verb has more than one syllable, double the final consonant before 'ed' only if the final syllable is stressed.

permit → permitted

'Ed' is pronounced /ɪd/. And the final syllable is stressed.

prefer → preferred

'Ed' is pronounced /d/.And the final syllable is stressed.

  • If the final syllable of the verb is not stressed, do not double the final consonant before 'ed'.

listen → listened

'Ed' is pronounced /d/.And the final syllable is not stressed.

develop → developed

/Ed/ is pronounced /t/.And the final syllable is not stressed.

Present Participle: Uses

Past Participle has different functions:

  1. It is used with the verb 'have' to form perfect tenses;
  2. It is used with the verb 'be' to form passive sentences;
  3. It is used as an adjective.

Past Participle: Perfect Tenses

In order to create perfect tenses in English, we should use the past participle. We have 6 perfect tense in English but only in 3 of them we use the past participle (we use gerund in the perfect continuous tenses):

Present Perfect Melisa has arrived home.
Past Perfect Chen had washed the dishes.
Future Perfect Alison will have traveled to Paris.

Past Participle: Passive Voice

Passive voice is constructed by the 'be verb + past participle'.

I am washing the dishes . → The dishes are being washed .

Someone stole my car . → My car was stolen .

Past Participle: Adjectives

Past participles (also called verbal adjective) can be used as adjectives in sentences. All verbal adjectives replace a verbal clause.

Her heart was broken . → Her broken heart made her cry .

Remember, adjectives usually are put before nouns unless they are the complements of the sentence.

My car was stolen . → My stolen car was found .

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