Participle Phrases

participle is a form of a verb that functions as an adjective. There are two kinds of participles: present participles and past participles.

Present participles end in -ing (jumping, burning, speaking). Past participles usually end in -ed, -t, or -en (jumped, burnt, spoken).

  • Barking dogs seldom bite. (The present participle ‘barking’ describes the noun ‘dogs’.)
  • rolling stone gathers no moss. (The present participle ‘rolling’ describes the noun ‘stone’.)
  • Don’t cry over split milk. (The past participle ‘spilt’ describes the noun ‘milk’.)
  • Sweep away the fallen leaves. (The past participle ‘fallen’ describes the noun ‘leaves’.)

Don’t confuse participles and verbs. Participles aren’t preceded by an auxiliary verb, as these examples show:

  • Dejected, Alice left the room. (Participle)
  • Alice was dejected. (Verb)

Participles can combine with other words into participle phrases. They act as adjectives, as these examples show:

  • Rejected by all his friends, he decided to become a monk. (The participle phrase ‘rejected by all his friends’ describes the pronoun he.)
  • Most of the people invited to the party didn’t turn up. (The participle phrase ‘invited to the party’ describes the noun people.)
  • Not knowing what to do, I telephoned the police.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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