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VERBALS : What are Verbals? : What are Gerunds? : What are Participles? : Examples of Using Participles : What are Infinitives? : Errors in Using Verbals and Gerunds

What are Participles?

What are Participles?Participles and gerunds are identical in form, but differ in case. Both end in ing for the present tense, and usually in ed for the past tense. The participle is a verbal adjective and always modifies some noun or pronoun; the action it expresses is a limiting circumstance. The gerund is a verbal noun and connects with a noun or pronoun only by the use of a preposition or the possessive case; the action it expresses may be important enough to attract attention.

We form a participle from a verb and use it like an adjective. The word participle is derived from the Latin word particeps, a partaker of. The participle partakes of the nature of the verb and the adjective.

(1) An active participle ends in ing.

EX.— "A growing plant."
EX.— "A racoon running up a tree stump."
EX.— "The police officer, noticing the gas leak."
EX.— "I was not at all happy, supposing that I had been called those names."

(In the last sentence supposing modifies I. The term "active" refers only to the form; it does not mean that the participle has an object.)

(2) A passive participle ends usually in d or t or n or ng.

EX.— "People burned wood."
EX.— "The lessons taught by English teachers."
EX.— "The words of an author spoken by a reader."
EX.— "Songs sung at midnight."
EX.— "Like a window struck by rocks."

(3) Participles are often phrasal:

EX.— "The youngest brother, having been silenced by money."
EX.— "My wife, being elated by his kind words."

Participle: Detecting the forgery, the cashier refused to accept the check.

Gerund: After refusing payment, the cashier notified the manager.

Gerund: His detecting the forgery undoubtedly prevented serious problems.

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VERBALS : What are Verbals? : What are Gerunds? : What are Participles? : Examples of Using Participles : What are Infinitives? : Errors in Using Verbals and Gerunds