Perfect Participles

A perfect participle is a participle that is used with an auxiliary verb to imply a special meaning. In this lesson, you will learn about perfect participle.

What Are Perfect Participles in English?

What Are Perfect Participles?

Perfect participles, also known as present perfect participles, are a type of verb form that is used to indicate that an action was completed before another action began. Perfect participles are often used to create participial phrases that function as adjectives in a sentence, modifying a noun or pronoun.

Why Do We Use Perfect Participles?

Perfect participles are used to express actions or states that have just finished. They indicate that one action or event happened before another. Take a look at some examples:

Having talked to him, she felt awful.

Having started to rain, we decided not to leave home.

Perfect Participle: Form

To make a perfect participle, we use the present participle form of the verb 'have' followed by the past participle of the main verb. So, the perfect participle is made of present and past participles. For example:

Having shouted at him, she left the room.

Having read the book, she spoiled the whole story.

Perfect Participles VS. Present Participles

In addition to differences in their structure and formation, perfect participles and present participles are used in different contexts as well.
Perfect participles are used to indicate that an action was completed before another specific action in the main clause.
However, if the earlier action occurred at the same time or nearly the same time as the second action, we typically use present participles instead of perfect participles. For example:

Having sat down, he turned on the TV. → Sitting down, he turned on the TV.

Sleeping well the other day, she could stay up till late at night. → Having slept well the other day, she could stay up till late at night.

Using Perfect Participles

Perfect participles are followed by another clause that expresses the result of the action described in the perfect participle clause by using a verb in the past tense. Here are a few examples:

Having done her homework, she could watch her favorite cartoon.

Having written the book, she felt relieved.

She cried, having been told that she couldn't pass the test.

Using Perfect Participles

Perfect Participles as Post-modifiers

Perfect participles can be placed after the subject of the clause to modify it. Check out these examples:

The girl having cooked tonight's dinner is a chef in a famous restaurant.

in this example, 'having cooked' is modifying 'the girl.'

The class having been cleaned recently is mine.

Negative Perfect Participles

To form a negative perfect participle, simply add the word 'not' before the perfect participle. Check out the following examples:

My sister left the country, not having said goodbye.

Not having paid the loan, he ditched his landlord.

Perfect Participles as Since-Clauses

The past perfect participle in passive voice can also be used instead of a since-clause. Check out the example:

Having been killed in his own building, the neighbors were the very first witnesses.

Since he had been killed in his own building, the neighbors were the very first witnesses.

Passive Perfect Participles

A passive perfect participle is formed by using the structure "having been + past participle". This formation is used to indicate that an earlier action was completed by someone else, rather than the subject of the sentence. Here are some examples:

Having been caught, the thief admitted his crime.

In this example, the police caught the thief as an earlier action.

Having been hit by a car, she lost her feet.


Perfect participle is a combination of the verb 'have' and the 'main verb'. The structure is as follows:

  • having + past participle


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