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Types of Participles in English Grammar

1. Present participle

The present participle is often used when we want to express an active action. In English we add –ing to the infinitive of the verb.

1.1. Use of the present participle

  • Continuous Tenses

    He is cooking lunch.

    He was cooking lunch.

  • Gerund

    Cooking lunch is fun.

    He likes cooking lunch.

  • Adjective

    Look at the sleeping baby.

  • Together with other words

    She came screaming down the stairs.

    He sat thinking in the car.

    I saw him reading.

2. Past participle

The past participle is often used when we want to express a passive action. In English we add –ed to the infinitive of regular verbs. We use the 3rd column of the table of the irregular verbs.

2.1. Use of the past participle

  • Perfect Tenses

    He has broken his arm.

    He had broken his arm.

  • Passive voice

    A criminal is arrested.

    A criminal was arrested.

  • Adjective

    Look at the painted wall.

  • Together with other words

    The room painted yesterday is dry.

    She had her nails painted.

3. Compounds with the past participle

This combination is also known as perfect participle. It is used to form an active sentence with the past participle. There is a time gap between the actions.

3.1. Past participle and having

  • Having failed my exams I joined the army.

One action happened after the other.

3.2. Present participle

  • The girl came singing out of the building.

Both actions happened at the same time.