What Is a Present Participle?
Present participles are verb forms that end in '-ing' and are used to describe ongoing or continuous actions. They are also used in various grammatical constructions such as progressive verb tenses, gerunds, and participial phrases. Present participles can also function as adjectives, modifying nouns or pronouns, or they can be used in reduced relative clauses, where they modify the subject of the sentence.
Present Participle: From
To form a present participle, it's important to consider the type of verb being used. As you may already know, there are regular and irregular verbs in English. Present participles are regular verbs and they are formed simply by adding '-ing' to the base form of the verb.
Take a look at some examples:
Now pay attention to their use in sentences:
Sometimes, to form present participles, simply adding '-ing' is not enough and the verb will require other changes. Here we will discuss the rules:
- If the verb ends in consonant + stressed vowel + consonant, double the final letter.
- If the verb ends in consonant + unstressed vowel + consonant, (the base verb is not stressed) do not double the final letter.
- If the verb ends in '-ie', replace the 'ie' with 'y'.
- If the verb ends in vowel + consonant + '-e', omit the '-e.'
Present Participle: Uses
1. Present Participles in Continuous Tenses
In the table below you can see all the continuous tenses that are formed using present participles. These tenses are used to describe ongoing actions and events. These actions and events may be in the present, past, or future.
|Present Perfect Continuous
I'm tired because I
|Past Perfect Continuous
Kaz was exhausted. He
|Future Perfect Continuous
2. Present Participles as Adjectives
Present participles can serve as adjectives in sentences. As adjectives, they can describe nouns. Take a look at some examples:
To interest →
To tire →
Pay attention to their use in sentences:
I was trying to make things
He tries his best but his
3. Present Participles in Participle Phrases
Participle phrases are phrases that have a participle at the beginning, followed by a modifier, an object, or a complement. The entire phrase tends to act as an adjective, modifying nouns or pronouns. The present participle phrase describes a situation that is occurring at the same time as the main action. Pay attention that the tense of the rest of the sentence does not matter.
4. Present Participles in Participle Clauses
Participle clauses are independent clauses that use the participle form of a verb. Mainly, they are used to shorten the main clause. Participle clauses tend to indicate time, reasons, and situations. Take a look at some examples:
I lost my phone (while)
He walked out (as he was)
The present participle is actually a bare infinitive followed by 'ing.' This form of the verb can be used for:
- Making continuous tenses
- Making -ing adjectives
- Making participle clauses
- Making participle phrases