Participle, a non-finite verb
Students learning English as well as ESL pursuers often get confused with the term “Participle” and its usage as a non-finite verb in the English language. Well, let me tell you that you are not alone here. Many a time people are seen making mistakes while using participles and in most cases, they get confused with the different forms of the verbs ending with “ed”, “ing” and many more.
This post is for you if you are in need of an in-depth discussion on Participles (one of the three non-finite verbs). You can visit the link below to know more about Non Finite Verbs.
Let’s jump into our topic at hand.
Let’s take a very common example:
Reading a comic book, the boy laughed aloud.
Now, in the given sentence above, the word “Reading” as an adjective qualifies the noun “boy”. At the same time, the word “Reading” is the “-ing” form of the verb “read” which takes an object “a comic book”. It means the word “reading” simultaneously performs both the functions of a verb and an adjective. Such verbs are called Participles. They may be called “Verbal Adjectives” as well. The phrase “Reading a comic book” according to its usage here is an Adjective Phrase performing the role of a participle and so is called a Participle Phrase as well.
So you can say Participle is that form of a verb which partakes the nature of both a verb and an adjective.
Consider the examples below:
- The doctor treated a wounded soldier.
- The painting looks charming.
- Time misspent is time lost.
A Participle is generally used in three ways
Attributive Adjective or Participle Adjective
Participle Adjectives are those that are used before the noun they qualify in a sentence.
- The soldier saved an injured child.
- She likes broiled chicken.
Predicative Adjective or Predicative Participle
Predicative Adjective is used predicatively to complete a sentence or sentences like
- The child kept him waiting.
- The parrot looks frightened.
Absolute Participle or Absolute Phrase
Here a Participle is used absolutely with a noun or pronoun going before it.
- The party being over, they left for home.
- God willing, we shall meet again.
Now, you might be thinking about how to identify a Participle or how to use them in sentences. Well, that’s a pretty good question and reflects that you are getting into it.
Three types of Participles are there:
The Present Participle ends with the “-ing” form of the verb. The Past Participle of regular verbs ends with “-d” or “-ed” whereas the same of irregular verbs end in “-t”, “-en”, “-n” or they may end up taking a new or completely different form (Regular and Irregular Verbs). The Perfect Participle form consists of the past participle (3rd) form of the verb preceded by “having”. The Perfect Participle form of the verb represents an action completed at some past time. Let’s have some examples:
Now let’s talk about how to use each of them
The Present Participle
As shown in the image above the Present Participle ends with the “-ing” form of a verb (V-ing) and expresses an action going on or not completed. Transitive verbs in this form take objects and partake the role of adjectives at the same time.
- They saw a kite flying above their house.
- The girl carrying a basket of flowers crossed the stream.
The Past Participle
The Past Participle expresses a completed action or state of the thing spoken of and is formed by adding “-ed”, “-d”, “-t”, “-en” or “-n” to the verb (V3 or the 3rd form of the verb).
- He is excited to see trees laden with fruits.
- Dressed in white, she attended the birthday party.
The Perfect Participle
Apart from what we call the Present and the Past Participles we have another form of Participle called the Perfect Participle. The Perfect Participle represents an action that is completed at some past time. This type of Participles are used when two different actions occur one after another in the past and the Perfect Participle form of the verb is used to represent the prior action influencing the later.
- Having read the letter she fainted.
- Having saved the kitten she felt happy.
The order of the action clauses can be inverted though.
Such as She got emotional, having watched a tragic episode.
There are other uses of Participles as well
Besides having an adjectival approach Participles are used
to indicate Present, Past and Future Continuous Tenses, Perfect Tenses, Perfect Continuous Tenses.
- The boy is flying kite. (Present Continuous)
- She was reciting a poem. (Past Continuous)
- I shall/will be preparing for the match. (Future Continuous)
- She has taken her decision. (Present Perfect)
- They had decided to be partners. (Past Perfect)
- She will have completed the task. (Future Perfect)
- He has been residing here for six months. (Present Perfect Continuous)
- She had been struggling for a decent life. (Past Perfect Continuous)
To form the passive construction of verbs (Passive Voice). The Past Participle form of the verb (V3) is used with Auxiliary verbs of different tenses to indicate passive voice of both regular and irregular verbs.
- He is seen to walk alone in the morning. (Present)
- We were allowed to take part in the show. (Past)
- He will be honored at the upcoming conference. (Future)
To form Adjectives. The Adjectival uses of the different Participle forms of verbs have been elaborately discussed above.
- A barking dog seldom bites.
- He wears a worried look.
To form Nouns in sentences. Sometimes the Present Participle form of the verb is used as a noun known as Gerund or Verbal-Noun having the force of both a verb and a noun.
- Seeing is believing.
- She likes reciting poetry.
- He is fond of riding.
- Reading is a good habit.
The Unattached Participle
Sometimes the Participle is wrongfully used omitting the noun or pronoun it qualifies. The omission of such noun or pronoun is unexpected.
Roaming on the beach, his mind was refreshed.
In the sentence above “roaming” appears to qualify “mind“, but it is meant to qualify a person. The correct form may be – “While he was standing on the beach, his mind…” etc.
- While walking in the morning, her foot broke. (Wrong)
While she was walking in the morning, she broke her foot. (Correct)
2. Writing the letter it was posted. (Wrong)
Writing the letter she posted it. (Correct)
However, we will have an in-depth discussion on the Verbal-Nouns or Gerunds in our upcoming posts.
Bye for now and have a good time.
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