What Are Present Participles?


Learn 1000s of English words with our vocabulary builder.

What Are Present Participles?

Present participles are formed from verbs. Present participles (just like past participles) can be used as adjectives or used to form verb tenses. For example:

The verb: to laugh
The present participle: laughing
The present participle used as an adjective: The laughing boy
The present participle used to form a verb tense: The boy was laughing.

There are two types of participles: Present and past participles are classified as verbals. (A verbal is a verb form that functions either as an adjective or a noun.)

Examples of Present Participles Being Used As Adjectives

Here are some examples of present participles being used as adjectives:
The VerbThe Present Participle
To runrunning water
To flourishflourishing business
To discouragediscouraging glance

Present Participles in Participle Phrases

It is really common to see present participles in participle phrases. A participle phrase also acts like an adjective. In the examples below, the participle phrases are shaded and the present participles are in bold: Read more about participle phrases.

More Examples of Present Participles Used as Adjectives

Here are some real-life examples of present participles (shaded) being used as adjectives:

Present Participles Used in Verb Tenses

As well as being used as adjectives, present participles are also used to form verb tenses. Here are the verb tenses (present participles shaded):
The 4 Past Tenses Example
simple past tense I talked
past progressive tense I was talking
past perfect tense I had talked
past perfect progressive tenseI had been talking
The 4 Present Tenses Example
simple present tense I talk
present progressive tense I am talking
present perfect tense I have talked
present perfect progressive tense I have been talking
The 4 Future Tenses Example
simple future tense I will talk
future progressive tense I will be talking
future perfect tense I will have talked
future perfect progressive tense I will have been talking

Do Not Confuse Present Participles with Gerunds

Present participles should not be confused with gerunds,which are nouns formed from verbs. Gerunds also end -ing. For example:
Click on the present participles:


Forming the Present Participle (Regular Verbs)

A present participle is formed like this:

Add "ing" to most verbs:
For verbs that end "e", remove the "e" and add "ing":
For verbs that end "ie", change the "ie" to "y" and add "ing":
For verbs whose last syllable is written [consonant-vowel-consonant] and is stressed, double the final consonant and add "ing":

Help Us To Improve English Grammar Lessons
Please tell us using this form.

See Also

What are adjectives? What are past participles? What are participle phrases? What are adjective phrases? What are verbs? What are verb tenses? What are gerunds?