In this lesson, I will mainly discuss the present participle what is similar in word structure, but quite different in their uses, for which it becomes difficult to recognize if it is a participle or a gerund.
-What is a participle?
Participles are verbal adjectives. That is when a verb word having an ‘ing’ or –ed, -d, -t, -en, or -n at its end and performing the role of an adjective, is called a participle. As a participle is formed from a verb, it will have the characteristics of both verb and adjective.
- I need some boiling water.
- I found a destroyed bridge over a small river.
-Types of Participle:
Participles are of three types. They are:
- Present participle
- Past participle
- Perfect participle
-What is a Present Participle?
The verbs which do not have their own adjective form, take ‘-ing’ at their end, and function as an adjective is called a present participle.
- This is an interesting story.
- We love the sight of the setting sun.
- William is a boring person.
- What an amazing idea you have had!
- My friend got a tiring job last month.
- We saw a running bus going towards New York City.
-Uses of Present Participle:
Present participles can be used in a variety of ways in clauses and sentences.
- To form continuous tenses
- Used in front of a noun to function as an adjective
- Used after a noun to indicate the running state of that noun
- Used after a noun or an objective form of a pronoun
- Used to describe two actions happening at the same time
- Used to explain the reason behind doing something
- Used to express an action done continuously
1. – To Form Continuous Tenses:
To form all kinds of continuous tenses, the present participle form is needed.
- The students are coming to school.
- They will be reading at this time.
- He was reading at that time.
- The cricket players will have been playing tomorrow.
2. – Used in Front of a Noun to Function as an Adjective:
A present participle can be used in front of a noun to tell something about a noun or the running state of that noun.
- The crying man is asking for help.
- William is a boring person, I don’t like him.
- The dancing lady conquered the heart of all the audience through her fascinating dance.
3. – Used After a Noun to Indicate the Running State of that Noun:
A present participle can be used to indicate the running state or action of that noun. That is, the action of that noun has not been completed.
- The boys coming toward me are all my students.
- The man talking to us is a University professor.
- The students playing in the field are from this school.
4. – Used After a Noun or an Objective Form of a Pronoun:
After a noun or an objective form of a pronoun, a participle is used. The verbs that are used in this pattern are:
See, look, hear, sound, feel, taste, catch, find watch, smell, spend, waste, etc.
- We saw him teaching English.
- I heard them singing the national anthem.
- Everybody watched him helping the old man.
- I caught him stealing my cell phone.
- My mother found some money lying under the bed.
- I felt something crawling over my body.
- My mother smelt something burning in the kitchen.
- My friend spent the whole day playing cricket.
- He wasted money buying some unnecessary things.
5. – Used to Describe Two Actions Happening at the Same Time:
A present participle can be used to describe two different things happening at the same time.
- Reading books he gathered this knowledge.
- Walking down the road I found my childhood friend.
- Arriving late the job seeker realized he has missed the interview.
- Driving to work I practice learning English.
6. – Used to Explain the Reason Behind Doing Something:
A present participle can be used to explain the reason behind doing something different action.
- Being very poor, he could not bear the expenses of his studies.
- Knowing that he failed the test, he planned to take better preparation.
- Feeling bad, he left the place.
- He is studying very hard thinking he might fail the test again.
7. – Used to Express an Action Done Continuously:
A present participle is often used to express an action done continuously at the time of performing the main action of the subject.
- The school children came running to meet their teacher.
- All the boys went away laughing.
- We immediately got to talking to each other.
- The singers entered the room singing a beautiful song.
- They went laughing out of the room.
-Difference Between a Gerund and a Present Participle:
Both a gerund and a present participle look the same, so often it becomes somewhat difficult to recognize if it is a gerund or a participle. To identify which is what you are to look at what role they are playing in a sentence. The major differences between them are:
- A gerund acts like a noun in a sentence. A present participle acts like an adjective.
- A gerund can be the subject of a verb. A present participle cannot play the role of a subject of a verb.
- A gerund can be the object of a transitive verb. A present participle cannot play the role of an object of a verb.
- A gerund can be the object of a preposition. A present participle cannot be the object of a preposition.
- A gerund is used after a possessive adjective or possessive case. A present participle is used after an objective pronoun or an objective case. [Gerund: I saw his crossing the river. Present participle: I saw him crossing the river.]
6. If the ‘-ing’ verb is used to make a compound noun, it is a gerund. And if ‘-ing’-verb is used to denote unfinished or ongoing work, then it is a present participle.