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Participle: Definition, Types & Examples

Updated on November 27, 2015
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Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a Master's Degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.

Participle: Definition, Types & Examples
Participle: Definition, Types & Examples | Source

Definition of Participle

A participle is a form of verb which functions as a verb and an adjective. Take a look at the following examples:

  1. The roaring lion ran towards us.
  2. The shining moon disappeared behind the clouds.
  3. He is revising the lesson.
  4. The sun is rising in the east.

The words roaring and shining in the 1st and 2nd sentences modify the nouns lion and moon respectively. Hence, they act like an adjective. On the other hand, in the 3rd and 4thsentences, the words revising and rising are main verbs. The above-mentioned sentences show that the highlighted words function as a verb as well as an adjective. That’s why; they are participles.

Types of Participles

There are three types of participles: Present Participle, Past Participle and Perfect Participle

Present Participles

A participle that ends in –ing is called a present participle. It shows an action that is going on. As mentioned earlier, a participle acts like a verb and an adjective. Take a look at the following sentences:

  1. I saw him knocking at the door.
  2. He is riding a motorcycle.
  3. They were blamed for supporting him.
  4. You have been residing here since long.

In the above-mentioned sentences, the highlighted words are all present participles.

Past Participles

Generally, the third from of the verb is called a past participle. It is used to show a completed action. For example, the highlighted verbs in the following sentences are past participles:

  1. Affected by the flood, he took his family to Islamabad.
  2. Driven by his desires, he ruined his life.
  3. He was annoyed with her.
  4. The house is covered in snow.
  5. The scared boy didn’t come again here.
  6. There are many rotten eggs in this basket.

Perfect Participles

A perfect participle is a type of participle that shows an action that has finished just recently. It is a combination of two words: Having + Past Participle. Thus, it is formed by placing having before the past participle. For example:

  1. Having finished the task, he went home.
  2. Having read the article, I took a nap.
  3. Having won the match, the players started shouting.
  4. Having received the letter, I informed my uncle.

Difference between Present Participles & Gerunds

Sometimes, it’s very difficult to differentiate between a gerund and a present participle. Though, the present participle and gerund end in –ing, yet they are different from each other. A present participle functions like a verb and an adjective, while a gerund acts like a noun and a verb. Take a look at the following sentences:

  1. The sizzling oil spilt over the dish.
  2. Reading poetry is my favourite hobby.

In the first sentence, the word sizzling modifies the noun oil and acts like an adjective. That’s why; it is a present participle. If we look at the second sentence, the word reading is used as a noun and acts like a subject. That’s why; it is a gerund. Similarly, in He is reading a book the word reading is a main verb. That’s why; it is a present participle. In He likes swimming the word swimming is used as an object of the verb like. That’s why; it is a gerund.

Examples of Participles

  1. The singing birds flew high in the sky.
  2. The much awaited actress appeared on the stage.
  3. Having finished the homework, I went to play hockey.
  4. The whistling train derailed near Islamabad.
  5. The smiling man greeted me.
  6. Having seen the movie, I drove towards the beach.
  7. Having taken exercise, I came back home.
  8. The frightened man could not make pass the test.
  9. He was cheated by his friends.
  10. She was trained in martial arts.
  11. The flying saucer was seen in Europe.
  12. The shining moon went behind the clouds.
  13. The burning house collapsed near the main building.
  14. Having taken a bath, she went to college.
  15. Scared by the ghost, she could not come out of her home.

© 2015 Muhammad Rafiq

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