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Participles‏‎ in English Grammar

In grammar a Verb Tense is a form of a verb‎ used to indicate roughly the time when the action described by the verb takes place. Here we talk about 3 basic tenses: Past, Present and Future. (Some people talk about more than 3, however.)

Compare this with Verb Form which is the form of a verb in a particular tense, e.g. present simple, present continuous, etc.

For more, see Verb Tenses‏‎ & Forms in English Grammar.

A Participle is a form of a verb‎. There are two participles:

present participle: -ing, e.g. walking, thinking

past participle: -ed, e.g. walked, thought

For more, see Participles in English Grammar.

Verbs tell us about an action; they are sometimes called doing words or action words. Verbs describe what is happening:

run, walk, read, talk

For more, see Verbs‏‎ in English Grammar,

A Noun is a major part of speech; a good, general, definition of a noun is that it is something which is used to name an object or thing:

car, door, elephant...

For more, see Nouns in English Grammar.

The Bare Infinitive is the base form of the verb‏‎:
be, have, walk...

The Full Infinitive has to at the beginning:
to be, to have, to walk...

Both are known as the Infinitive.

For more, see Infinitives in English Grammar.

An Adjective is a word we use to describe a noun:

big, red, boring book

For more, see Adjectives‏‎ in English Grammar.

Silhouettes of people doing things.A Participle is a form of a verb‎. In English‏‎ there are two participles:

  • Present Participle‏‎
  • Past Participle‏‎


We use the participles to help form different verb tenses‏‎. For example in this first example we use just the basic verb form known as the infinitive:

I walk

In these two examples we have used the two participles (highlighted) to form new verb tenses:

I was walking.

I have walked.

The Present Participle

The present participle is usually made by adding -ing to the end of the infinitive.





We use the present particle to form the continuous tenses‏‎:

He is sleeping.

They were laughing.

It can also be used as an adjective or nouns in some cases.

The Past Participle

The past participle is usually made by adding -ed to the infinitive:



The past participle is used to form the perfect tenses‏‎:

We have walked these hills many times.

He has slept for 18 hours!

The past participle can also sometimes be used as a noun.

Useful Links

Present Participle‏‎ in English Grammar – more detail on this verb form.

Past Participles‏‎ in English Grammar – more detail on this verb form.

Verb Tenses‏‎ & Forms in English Grammar – the title says it all.

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