Participles for intermediate learners

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.

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"Participles" in the English Grammar

What Are Participles?

Participles are verb forms that can serve various purposes in language. They can function as adjectives, describing nouns or pronouns, or they can be combined with auxiliary verbs to form different tenses.

Participles: Types

There are three types of participles in English:

Now, let us explore the form an functions of each type.

Present Participles

To form present participles, we typically add an '-ing' to the base form of the verb. Look at the following examples:

Look → looking

Ask → asking

Sell → selling

Spelling Rules

As already mentioned, present participles are typically formed by adding '-ing' to the base form of the verb. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if the verb ends in '-ie', the '-ie' is replaced with '-y' before adding '-ing' to the verb. Take a look at the following examples:

Die → dying

Tie → tying

Another exception is when the verb ends in '-e'. In this case, the '-e' is replaced with an '-ing'. Take a look at the following examples:

Make → making

Face → facing

Uses

Present participles can serve different grammatical functions, such as acting as an adjective, a verbal noun, or combining with an auxiliary verb to form continuous past or present tenses. In this lesson, we are going to discuss two of these functions:

Present Participles as Nouns

Present participles can function as nouns, and can be used as subjects, objects of the verb, objects of a preposition, etc. Study the following examples carefully:

Lana wanted to practice dancing.

As you can see, the present participle is a noun here and is serving as the object of the verb.

Killing people should be strictly forbidden.

Here, the present participle is a noun and it serves as the subject of the sentence.

What do you think about changing our plan?

As you can see, the present participle is the object of a preposition in the sentence.

Tip!

Present participles can also be used to form compound nouns. Take a look at the following examples:

A frying pan.

A cleaning tool.

Present Participles as Adjectives

We can use present participles to replace a verbal clause with an adjective. Check out the following examples:

The snake is hissing and wants to attack us. → The hissing snake wants to attack us.

As you can see, we can shorten sentences using present participles as adjectives.

The students are complaining and demand a proper response. → The complaining students demand a proper response.

Past Participles

To form past participles, we mainly add an '-ed' or '-d' to the end of the verb. Take a look at the following examples:

Work → worked

Play → played

Talk → talked

Warning!

Keep in mind that not all verbs form their past tense by adding '-ed'. Some verbs are irregular, and their past tense form significantly changes compared to the base form. Take a look at some examples below:

Grow → grown

See → seen

Fall → fallen

Spelling Rules

When forming past participles from regular verbs, it's important to keep a few details in mind. For instance, if the verb ends in an '-e', simply add '-d' to the end of it. Take a look at the following examples:

Dance → danced

Live → lived

If the verb ends in a consonant, double the final letter before adding an '-ed' to it. Study the following examples:

Plan → planned

Rob → robbed

Warning!

Please note that not all regular verbs ending in "-y" have the same past participle form. For some of these verbs, we remove the '-y' and replace it with '-ie' before adding "-d" or "-ed" to form the past participle. Take a look at the following examples:

Scurry → scurried

Hurry → hurried

Uses

Past participles can serve various functions depending on the context. They can function as adjectives, combine with the verb 'have' to form perfect tenses, or be used with 'be' to from the passive voice. Let us see how they can function as adjectives:

Past Participles as Adjectives

We can use past participles to create verbal adjectives. Take a look at the following examples:

The frog was dead. → The dead frog

The window was broken. → The broken window

The table cloth was torn. → The torn table cloth

Perfect Participles

To form a perfect participle phrase we add 'having' to the past participle form. For example:

Having studied for weeks, she felt confident about the exam.

Having lost his job, he decided to start his own business.

Uses

The perfect participle phrase is used to show that one action was completed before another action began. It is often used in complex sentences to express a sequence of events. Pay attention to the example:

Having finished her dinner, she went to bed.

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Present Participles

Present participles are one of the key features of English language. It is a form of verb that ends in '-ing.' In this lesson, we will learn more about them.

Past Participles

The past participle is the third principal part of a verb that is most commonly known to be used with tenses. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

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