English Verb: The Participle
A Participle is a word which is partly a Verb and partly an Adjective. Hence it is called a Verbal Adjective.
I saw him writing a letter.
Here writing is a participle. It qualifies the object i.e. him; it is adjective as well as a verb.
There are three kinds of Participles. They are:
(a) Present Participle,
(b) Past Participle, and
(c) Perfect Participle.
(a) Present Participles are formed
(i) By adding ‘ing’ to the Verb ; as—reading, seeing etc.
(ii) When the Verb ends in ‘ie’, the ‘ie’, is changed into ‘y’ before ‘ing’ is added; as—‘lie-lying’ and ‘die—dying’.
(iii) When the verb ends in ‘e’, the ‘e’, is dropped before adding ‘ing’. As—‘come—coming’ and ‘write—writing etc.
(iv) When the verb ends in a consonant with a short Vowel before it, the last letter becomes double. As—‘run—running’ and ‘put—putting’ etc.
The Present Participle expresses an incomplete or continuous action:
I. heard someone sobbing.
I, saw her cursing her daughter.
They found the baby shouting with joy.
(b) The Past Participle ends in d, ed, t, n, en or ne. It indicates finished or complete
I bought a stolen scooter.
A pointed thorn pricked him.
You look tired. A broken chair is of no use.
Uses of the Participle
Present and Past Participle are used :
I. (a) To form the Continuous Tenses of the Active Voice; (i) It is raining. (Present) (ii) The child was weeping bitterly. (Past)
(iii) I shall be coming back in a jiffy. (Future)
(b) To form the Perfect Tense of Active Voice:
(i) He has finished his work. (Present)
(ii) He had already gone. (Past)
(iii) He will have posted the letter. (Future)
Note: I (a) and (h) have been dealt with at length in the chapter on tenses.
(c) To form the Passive Voice:
(i) I am pleased to see you. (Present)
(ii) He was hanged. (Past)
(iii) He will be Punished. (Future)
The past participle of the passive voice is invariably preceded by the different forms of Verb ‘to be’ or ‘to have’ as the case may be.
(d) To qualify a Noun or a Pronoun;
(i) Everybody worships the rising sun.
(ii) I found him weeping.
(e) To form a Nominative Absolute
(i) Weather permitting, we shall fly kites.
(ii) The sun having risen, the birds began to chirp.
(iii) It being very hot, we kept indoors.
(f) The Participle used as an Adjective in the subject-complement position :
The book was interesting.
His way of speaking was disgusting.
i. The Participle can also be used predicatively after the verb and after the object (as object-complement):
He entered smiling.
They looked terrified.
I saw him ironing the clothes.
They found the boy weeping.
ii. After the Verbs of sensation:
I heard people shouting.
I smell something burning.
You can hear the clock ticking.
iii. To combine sentences:
(a) If a single subject performs one action just (soon) after the other action, the former action will be expressed by present participle and it will precede the other action in the sentence.
(i) He placed the books on the table. He ran away.
Placing the books on the table, he ran away.
(ii) He left the car on the road. He went into the house.
Leaving the car on the road, he went into the house.
(b) If a single subject performs two actions simultaneously, one of the actions is expressed by Present Participle. The Participle may be placed before or after the finite verb at will:
He took a bath. He whistled.
Taking a bath, he whistled.
Whistling he took a bath.
(c) If the second action is either a part or the effect of the previous action, the second action will invariably be expressed by Present Participle:
The police fired. It killed three persons.
The police fired killing three persons.
It rained heavily. It flooded the fields.
It rained heavily flooding the fields.
If some Participle is connected with a wrong noun or pronoun, it conveys a vague sense. Then it is termed as a misrelated participle:
‘Waiting for the train, a stone hit me on the head.’
Here it means: “The stone was waiting for the train, whereas it is ‘I’, who was waiting ….,
So the sentence should be written. “As/While I was waiting for the train, a stone hit me on the head.”
Note: Remember that a participle is considered to be related to the noun/pronoun which immediately precedes it:
A man carrying a bundle alighted from the bus.
The Present Participle can also replace as/since/because + subject + verb, viz. It helps to explain the action that follows:
Knowing that he would not come, he went alone. =
As he knew that he would not ……
But in such cases the Participle should invariably be added after the noun/pronoun related to it. If we say “Being the weather fine, we decided ……”, it would form a wrong sentence. But ‘Being vigilant, he escaped the trap laid down by the dacoits’ is a correct sentence. Reason being, ‘he’ is the subject of both the participle and the succeeding verb.
The Past Participle (passive) is formed by adding ‘en’ or ‘ne’ to the infinitive e.g., finished action.
(a) This form is used as an adjective:
finished goods, fallen trees, broken pen, torn page, sold good, borne fruit, lent money.
(b) The Past Participle is used to replace a subject + passive verb just as the present participle is used to replace subject + active verb:
He entered the room. He was weeping.
He entered the room weeping.
She entered. She was accompanied by her brother. She entered accompanied by her brother.
Having + past participle is added to form Perfect Participle. Similarly, having been + past participle is added to form Perfect Participle (passive). Perfect Participle is used (in the condition) when the second action begins on the completion of the first action.
Having failed thrice, she did not wish to try again.
Having been cheated once, they became more conscious.
[Perfect Participle (passive)]
Having been beaten twice, he fears my father.
[Perfect Participle ( passive)]
This form can be used to combine sentences:
The bridge has been weakened by the floods. It became unsafe to cross over. =
Weakened by the floods, the bridge became unsafe to cross over.
Having been weakened by the floods, the bridge became unsafe to cross over.