What Are Present Participles?

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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":


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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?