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OWL - Online Writing Lab: Participles

Collection of short tutorials created by ASC, the Academic Support Center staff, to help students successfully execute the writing requirements at Louisville Seminary.

A verbal that acts like an adjective and a verb

There are three types of verbals: participles, infinitives, and gerunds. These words are based on verbs and consequently express action or a state of being although they function as adjectives and nouns.

A participle is a verbal that has the same properties of an adjective and some of the same as a verb. Similar to an adjective, participles are used to modify nouns and/or pronouns. Like a verb, a participle sometimes requires an object.

There are three types of participles: present participles, past participles, and past perfect.

  • Present participles are occurring now and end in ing.
  • Past participles signify an event that began and ended at a specific time in the past. Past participles end in ed, en, d, t or n.
  • Past perfect participles indicate an event in the past that was completed before another activity was begun.


  • Present Participles
    • The crying student asked for extra time for the test.
    • Cry is a verb but an ing has been added so that it can modify the noun, students.
  • Past Participles
    • Shaken, the students limped away from the Greek test.
    • Shake is a verb that, here, describes the students’ demeanor because of what occurred in the past.
  • Past Perfect Participles
    • The students partied all night after having passed the Greek test.
    • Having passed shows action occurring and finishing before the present action (the party).