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A participle is a word which is partly a verb and partly an adjective. English has two participles: the present participle and the past participle.

Forms like running, singing, walking and working are called present participles. Forms like worked, broken, gone, written and walked are called past participles.


To form verb forms

Participles are used with the auxiliary verbs be and have to make progressive, perfect and passive verb forms.

As adjectives

Participles can be used as adjectives before nouns, or after be and other copular verbs.

Not all participles can be used as adjectives before nouns - for example, we can say a lost dog, but not a found dog. It is not possible to give clear rules.

As adverbs

Sometimes participles are used like adverbs.


Participles can combine with other words into clause-like structures.

See also

Participles: active and passive
Participle clauses
A common error with participles