A participle (glossing abbreviation PTCP) is a form of a verb that is
used in a sentence to modify a noun, noun phrase, verb, or verb
phrase, and plays a role similar to an adjective or adverb. It is
one of the types of nonfinite verb forms. Its name comes from the
A broken window. A fallen tree. An interesting book.
Another use is in a phrase which serves as a shortened form of a relative clause, as in the following phrases:
A woman wearing a red hat. A window broken by the wind.
Here the first phrase is equivalent to "a woman who was wearing a red hat". Such participle phrases generally follow the noun they describe, just as relative clauses do. Often a participle replaces an adverbial clause. For example:
With drawn sword, he came to the sleeping Lucretia.
In the above sentence, the participles can be interpreted as equivalent to an adverbial clause of time, namely "after he had drawn his sword", and "when she was sleeping". A fourth use of participles in some languages is in combination with an auxiliary verb such as "has" or "is" to make a compound or periphrastic verb tense which in other languages can often be expressed by a single word:
He had drawn his sword (=
A verb phrase based on a participle is called a participle phrase or participial phrase (participial is an adjective derived from participle). For example, wearing a hat and broken by the wind are participial phrases based respectively on an English present participle and past participle. Since these phrases are equivalent to a clause, they may also be called a participle clause or participial clause. Participial clauses generally do not have an expressed grammatical subject; but occasionally a participial clause does include a subject, as in the English nominative absolute construction The king having died, ... .
1 Types of participle 2 Indo-European languages
2.1 Germanic languages
2.1.1 Early English 2.1.2 Middle English 2.1.3 Modern English 2.1.4 Scandinavian languages
2.2.1 Latin 2.2.2 French 2.2.3 Spanish
2.3 Hellenic languages
2.3.1 Ancient Greek
2.4 Celtic languages
2.5 Slavic languages
2.5.1 Polish 2.5.2 Russian 2.5.3 Bulgarian 2.5.4 Macedonian
2.6 Baltic languages
3 Semitic languages
4 Finno-Ugric languages
5 Turkic languages
6 Eskimo-Aleut languages
6.1 Sireniki Eskimo
7 Constructed languages
8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 External links
Types of participle
Participles are often identified with a particular tense, as with the
English present participle and past participle (see under
Modern English below). However, this is often a matter of
contention; present participles are not necessarily associated with
the expression of present time, or past participles necessarily with
Participles may also be identified with a particular voice: active or
passive. Some languages (such as
I saw John eating his dinner. (Here eating is an active present participle) The food was gone. (Here gone is an active past participle) He found the window broken. (Here broken is a passive past participle)
A distinction is also sometimes made between adjectival participles and adverbial participles. An adverbial participle (or a participial phrase/clause based on such a participle) plays the role of an adverbial (adverb phrase) in the sentence in which it appears, whereas an adjectival participle (or a participial phrase/clause based on one) plays the role of an adjective phrase. Some languages have different forms for the two types of participle; such languages include Russian and other Slavic languages, Hungarian, and many Eskimo languages, such as Sireniki, which has a sophisticated participle system. Details can be found in the sections below or in the articles on the grammars of specific languages. Some descriptive grammars treat adverbial and adjectival participles as distinct lexical categories, while others include them both in a single category of participles. Sometimes different names are used; adverbial participles in certain languages may be called converbs, gerunds, or gerundives (though this is not consistent with the meanings of the terms gerund or gerundive as normally applied to English or Latin), or transgressives. Sometimes adjectival participles come to be used as pure adjectives, without any verbal characteristics (deverbal adjectives). They then no longer take objects or other modifiers typical of verbs, possibly taking instead modifiers that are typical of adjectives, such as the English word very. The difference is illustrated by the following examples:
The subject interesting him at the moment is Greek history. Greek history is a very interesting subject.
In the first sentence interesting is used as a true participle; it
acts as a verb, taking the object him, and forming the participial
phrase interesting him at the moment, which then serves as an
adjective phrase modifying the noun subject. However, in the second
sentence interesting has become a pure adjective; it stands in an
adjective's typical position before the noun, it can no longer take an
object, and it could be accompanied by typical adjective modifiers
such as very or quite (or in this case the prefix un-). Similar
examples are "interested people", "a frightened rabbit", "fallen
leaves", "meat-eating animals".
In Old English, past participles of Germanic strong verbs were marked
with a ge- prefix, as are most strong and weak past participles in
Dutch and German today, and often by a vowel change in the stem. Those
of weak verbs were marked by the ending -d, with or without an
epenthetic vowel before it.
Modern English past participles derive
from these forms (although the ge- prefix, which became y- in Middle
English, has now been lost).
The present participle, also sometimes called the active, imperfect, or progressive participle, takes the ending -ing, for example doing, seeing, working, running. It is identical in form to the verbal noun and gerund (see below). The term present participle is sometimes used to include the gerund; and the term "gerund–participle" is also used. The past participle, also sometimes called the passive or perfect participle, is identical to the past tense form (ending in -ed) in the case of regular verbs, for example "loaded", "boiled", "mounted", but takes various forms in the case of irregular verbs, such as done, sung, written, put, gone, etc.
In addition various compound participles can be formed, such as having done, being done, having been doing, having been done. Details of participle formation can be found under English verbs and List of English irregular verbs. The present participle, or participial phrases (clauses) formed from it, are used as follows:
to form the progressive (continuous) aspect: Jim was sleeping. as an adjective phrase modifying a noun phrase: The man sitting over there is my uncle. adverbially, the subject being understood to be the same as that of the main clause: Looking at the plans, I gradually came to see where the problem lay. He shot the man, killing him. similarly, but with a different subject, placed before the participle (the nominative absolute construction): He and I having reconciled our differences, the project then proceeded smoothly. more generally as a clause or sentence modifier: Broadly speaking, the project was successful. (See also dangling participle.)
Past participles, or participial phrases (clauses) formed from them, are used as follows:
to form the perfect aspect: The chicken has eaten. to form the passive voice: The chicken was eaten. as an adjective phrase: The chicken eaten by the children was contaminated. (See also reduced relative clause.) adverbially: Eaten in this manner, the chicken presents no problem. in a nominative absolute construction, with a subject: The chicken eaten, we returned home.
Both types of participles are also often used as pure adjectives (see
Types of participles above). Here present participles are used in
their active sense ("an exciting adventure", i.e. one that excites),
while past participles are usually used passively ("the attached
files", i.e. those that have been attached), although those formed
from intransitive verbs may sometimes be used with active meaning
("our fallen comrades", i.e. those who have fallen). Some such
adjectives also form adverbs, such as interestingly and excitedly.
The gerund is distinct from the present participle in that it (or
rather the verb phrase it forms) acts as a noun rather than an
adjective or adverb: "I like sleeping"; "Sleeping is not allowed."
There is also a pure verbal noun with the same form ("the breaking of
one's vows is not to be taken lightly"). Sometimes this identity of
forms can lead to ambiguity, as
Flying planes can be dangerous.
When the meaning is "The practice of flying a plane is dangerous",
flying is a noun and can be called a gerund; when the meaning is
"Planes which fly" or "Planes when they are flying", flying is being
used adjectivally or adverbially and can be called a participle.
For more on the distinctions between these uses of the -ing verb form,
see -ing: uses.
For more details on uses of participles and other parts of verbs in
English, see Uses of English verb forms, including the sections on the
present participle and past participle.
In all of the Scandinavian languages the past participle has to agree
with the noun to some degree. All of the Scandinavian languages have
mandatory agreement with the noun in number.
Sjølvkøyrande bilar kan vere farleg. (English: self-driving cars can be dangerous) Kyllingen blei eten (English: The chicken was eaten) Dyret blei ete (English: The animal was eaten)
The participles are marked in bold. The first example involves a
present participle and the two latter examples involves a past
participle. All present participles end with an -ande suffix.
present participle: present stem + -ns (gen. -ntis); e.g. legēns (plural legentēs) "(while) reading" perfect participle: supine stem + -us, -a, -um; e.g. lēctus "read (by someone)" future participle: supine stem + -ūrus, -ūra, -ūrum; e.g. lēctūrus "going to read", "due to read" gerundive (sometimes considered the future passive participle): e.g. legendus "due to be read", "necessary to be read"
However, many modern
Strīctō gladiō ad dormientem Lucrētiam vēnit. "With drawn sword he came to the sleeping Lucretia."
The dynamic, verbal meaning is more common, and
Balbus ad mē vēnit currēns. "Balbus came to me running."
Both the future and the perfect participle (but not the present participle) can be used with various tenses of the verb esse "to be" to make a compound tense such as the future-in-the-past or the perfect passive:
Eō diē Rōmam ventūrus erat. "On that day he was going to return to Rome." Occīsus est ā Thēbānīs. "He was killed by the Thebans."
The perfect and future participles can also be used, with or without the verb esse "to be", in indirect speech clauses:
(Dīxit eōs) locum facile inventūrōs (esse). "He said that they were easily going to find the place / He said that they would find the place easily."
For uses of the gerundive, see
Present active participle: formed by dropping the -ons of the nous form of the present tense of a verb (except with être and avoir) and then adding ant: marchant "walking", étant "being", ayant "having". Past participle: formation varies according to verb group: vendu "sold", mis "placed", marché "walked", été "been", and fait "done". The sense of the past participle is passive as an adjective and in most verbal constructions with "avoir", but active in verbal constructions with "être", in reflexive constructions, and with some intransitive verbs.
Compound participles are possible:
Present perfect participle: ayant appelé "having called", étant mort "being dead" Passive perfect participle: étant vendu "being sold, having been sold"
Present participles are used as qualifiers as in "un insecte volant" (a flying insect) and in some other contexts. They are never used to form tenses. The present participle is used in subordinate clauses, usually with en: "Je marche, en parlant". Past participles are used as qualifiers for nouns: "la table cassée" (the broken table); to form compound tenses such as the perfect "Vous avez dit" (you have said) and to form the passive voice: "il a été tué" (he/it has been killed).
Spanish In Spanish, the so-called present or active participle (participio activo or participio de presente) of a verb is traditionally formed with one of the suffixes -ante, -ente or -iente, but modern grammar does not consider it a true participle, as such forms usually have the meaning of simple adjectives or nouns: e.g. amante "loving" or "lover", viviente "living" or "live". Another participial form is known as the gerundio, which ends in an (unchanging) suffix -ando, -endo, or -iendo. The gerundio is used in combination with the verb estar ("to be") to make continuous tenses: for example, estar haciendo means "to be doing" (haciendo being the gerundio of hacer, "to do"), and there are related constructions such as seguir haciendo meaning "to keep doing" (seguir being "to continue"). Another use is in phrases such as vino corriendo ("he/she came running") and lo vi corriendo ("I saw him running"). The past participle (participio pasado or participio pasivo) is regularly formed with one of the suffixes -ado or -ido; but some verbs have an irregular form ending in -to (e.g. escrito, visto), or -cho (e.g. dicho, hecho). The past participle is used generally as an adjective referring to a finished action, in which case its ending changes according to gender and number. At other times is used to form compound tenses (as in English), in which case it is indeclinable. Some examples: As an adjective:
las cartas escritas "the written letters"
To form compound tenses:
Ha escrito una carta. "She (he, it) has written a letter."
Participle (Ancient Greek)
λῡ́ω "I release" active middle passive
present λῡ́ων λῡόμενος
aorist λῡ́σας λῡσάμενος λυθείς
future λῡ́σων λῡσόμενος λυθησόμενος
perfect λελυκώς λελυμένος
τίθημι "I put" active middle passive
present τιθείς τιθέμενος
aorist θείς θέμενος τεθείς
future θήσων θησόμενος τεθησόμενος
perfect τεθηκώς τεθειμένος
Like an adjective, it can modify a noun, and can be used to embed one thought into another.
πολλὰ καὶ φύσει καὶ ἐπιστήμῃ δεῖ τὸν εὖ στρατηγήσοντα ἔχειν "he who intends to be a good general must have a great deal of ability and knowledge"
In the example, the participial phrase τὸν εὖ στρατηγήσοντα, literally "the one going to be a good general," is used to embed the idea εὖ στρατηγήσει "he will be a good general" within the main verb. The participle is very widely used in Ancient Greek, especially in prose. Celtic languages Welsh In Welsh, the effect of a participle in the active voice is constructed by yn followed by the verb-noun (for the present participle) and wedi followed by the verb-noun (for the past participle). There is no mutation in either case. In the passive voice, participles are usually replaced by a compound phrase such as wedi cael ei/eu ("having got his/her/their ...ing") in contemporary Welsh and by the impersonal form in classical Welsh. Slavic languages Polish The Polish word for participle is imiesłów (pl.: imiesłowy). There are four types of imiesłowy in two classes: Adjectival participle (imiesłów przymiotnikowy):
active adjectival participle (imiesłów przymiotnikowy czynny): robiący – "doing", "one who does" passive adjectival participle (imiesłów przymiotnikowy bierny): robiony – "being done" (can only be formed off transitive verbs)
Adverbial participle (imiesłów przysłówkowy):
present adverbial participle (imiesłów przysłówkowy współczesny): robiąc – "doing", "while doing" perfect adverbial participle (imiesłów przysłówkowy uprzedni): zrobiwszy – "having done" (formed in virtually all cases off verbs in their perfective forms, here denoted by the prefix z-)
Due to the distinction between adjectival and adverbial participles, in Polish it is practically impossible to make a dangling participle in the classical English meaning of the term. For instance, in the sentence:
I found them hiding in the closet.
it is unclear whether "I" or "they" were hiding in the closet. In Polish there is a clear distinction:
Znalazłem ich, chowając się w szafie. – chowając is a present adverbial participle agreeing grammatically with the subject ("I") Znalazłem ich chowających się w szafie. – chowających is an active adjectival participle agreeing grammatically with the object ("them")
Russian Verb: слышать [ˈslɨ.ʂɐtʲ] (to hear, imperfective aspect)
Present active: слышащий [ˈslɨ.ʂɐ.ɕɕɪj] "hearing", "who hears" Present passive: слышимый [ˈslɨ.ʂᵻ.məj] "being heard", "that is heard", "audible" Past active: слышавший [ˈslɨ.ʂɐf.ʂəj] "who heard", "who was hearing" Past passive: услышанный [ˈslɨ.ʂɐn.nəj] "that was heard", "that was being heard" Adverbial present active: слыша [ˈslɨ.ʂɐ] "(while) hearing" Adverbial past active: слышав [ˈslɨ.ʂɐf] "having been hearing"
Verb: услышать [ʊˈslɨ.ʂɐtʲ] (to hear, perfective aspect)
Past active: услышавший [ʊˈslɨ.ʂɐf.ʂəj] "who has heard" Past passive: услышанный [ʊˈslɨ.ʂɐn.nəj] "that has been heard" Adverbial past active: услышав [ʊˈslɨ.ʂɐf] "having heard"
Future participles formed from perfective verbs are technically possible, though not considered a part of standard language. Bulgarian Participles are adjectives formed from verbs. There are various kinds: Verb: правя [pravja] (to do, imperfective aspect):
Present active: правещ [pravešt] Past active aorist: правил [pravil] Past active imperfect: правел [pravel] (only used in verbal constructions) Past passive: правен [praven] Adverbial present active: правейки [pravejki]
Verb: направя [napravja] (to do, perfective aspect):
Past active aorist: направил [napravil] Past active imperfect: направел [napravel] (only used in verbal constructions) Past passive: направен [napraven]
Macedonian Macedonian has completely lost or transformed the participles of Common Slavic, unlike the other Slavic languages. The following points may be noted:
present active participle: this has transformed into a verbal adverb; present passive participle: there are some isolated cases or remnants of the present passive participle, such as the word лаком [lakom] (greedy); past active participle: there is only one remnant of the past active participle, which is the word бивш [bivš] (former). However, this word is often replaced with the word поранешен [poranešen] (former); past passive participle: this has been transformed into a verbal adjective (it behaves like a normal adjective); resultative participle: this has transformed into a verbal l-form (глаголска л-форма). It is not a participle since it doesn't function attributively.
Among Indo-European languages, the
Present tappava tapettava
Past tappanut tapettu
The participles work in the following way:
tappava Present active participle: Conveys an ongoing action. Used to omit the use of the relative pronoun who, which or that. Tappava means "killing" as in "killing machine". In other words, machine that kills. It can also work as the subject of the sentence. In other words, tappava can mean "the one who kills" or "he who kills". Tappava on... = He who kills is...
tapettava Present passive participle: Conveys possibility and obligation. Possibility as in -able (killable) and obligation as in something that has to be killed. Tapettava mies can mean both "the killable man" (possibility) and "the man who has to be killed" (obligation).
tappanut Past active participle: Used with the verb olla (to be) to construct the perfect and the past perfect tenses. In English the verb "to have" is used to form the perfect and past perfect tense (I have/had killed), in Finnish the verb "to be" is used instead (minä olen/olin tappanut). Just like the present active participle, it can also be used as the subject in a sentence, except it conveys the meaning in the past tense. In other words, tappanut can mean "the one who killed" or "he who killed". Tappanut on... = He who killed is...
tapettu Past passive participle: A concluded action. Tapettu mies = the killed man.
tappama- Agent participle: Always used with a possessive suffix. It is used to convey the meaning of the word "by" in English, since there is no word for "by" in Finnish. Hänen tappamansa mies = The man killed by him. The tense of the translation depends on the context.
tappamaton Negative participle: Used to convey impossibility (unkillable) and undoneness (not killed). Tappamaton mies means both "unkillable man" and "man (who is) not killed".
Each and every one of these participles can be used as adjectives, which means that some of them can be turned into nouns.
Finnish (adjective) tappava tapettava tappamaton
English (adjective) killing killable unkillable (possibility) or not killed (undoneness)
Finnish (noun) tappavuus tapettavuus tappamattomuus
English (noun) killingness killability unkillability (possibility) or lack of killing (undoneness)
Participles are called sıfat-fiil (lit. adjective-verb) or ortaç in
Turkish paticiples consist of a verb stem and a suffix. Some
participles may be conjugated, but some may not. Participles always
precede the noun they are defining, as in English.
Participle suffixes, like many other suffixes in Turkish, change
according to the vowel harmony and sandhi.
There are eight types of participle suffixes; -en, -esi, -mez, -ar,
-di(k/ği) -ecek and -miş 
Sireniki Eskimo language, an extinct Eskimo–Aleut language, has
separate sets of adverbial participles and adjectival participles.
Different from in English, adverbial participles are conjugated to
reflect the person and number of their implicit subjects; hence, while
in English a sentence like "If I were a marksman, I would kill
walruses" requires two full clauses (to distinguish the two verbs'
different subjects), in Sireniki Eskimo one of these may be replaced
with an adverbial participle (since its conjugation indicates the
Past Present Future
Active -inta -anta -onta
Passive -ita -ata -ota
For example, a falonta botelo is a bottle that will fall or is about to fall. A falanta botelo is one that is falling through the air. After it hits the floor, it is a falinta botelo. These examples use the active participles, but the usage of the passive participles is similar. A cake that is going to be divided is a dividota kuko. When it is in the process of being divided, it is a dividata kuko. Having been cut, it is now a dividita kuko. These participles can be used in conjunction with the verb to be, esti, forming 18 compound tenses (9 active and 9 passive). However, this soon becomes complicated and often unnecessary, and is only frequently used when rigorous translation of English is required. An example of this would be la knabo estos instruita, or, the boy will have been taught. This example sentence is then in the future anterior. When the suffix -o is used, instead of -a, then the participle refers to a person. A manĝanto is someone who is eating. A manĝinto is someone who ate. A manĝonto is someone who will eat. Also, a manĝito is someone who was eaten, a manĝato is someone who is being eaten, and a manĝoto is someone who will be eaten. These rules hold true for all transitive verbs. Since copular and intransitive verbs do not have passive voice, their participle forms can only be active. An informal addition to these six are the participles for conditional forms, which use -unt-. The active participles are the only ones generally used. For example, a "komencunto" is a person who would (have) begun. A "parolunto" is someone who would (have) spoken. See also
Attributive verb Gerund Grammar Hanging participle Nonfinite verb Transgressive (linguistics)
^ What is a participle? in Glossary of linguistic terms at SIL
^ participium. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A
Participles from the American Heritage Book of English Usage (1996).
Quirk, R; Greenbaum, S; Leech, G.; Svartvik, J. (1972). A
List of English simple past and past participle verb forms from myenglishteacher.net Ernest De Witt Burton: Moods and Tenses of New Testament Greek. The adverbial participle.
v t e
Lexical categories and their features
Abstract / Concrete Adjectival Agent Animate / Inanimate Attributive Common / Proper Countable / Mass / Collective Initial-stress-derived Relational Strong / Weak Verbal / Deverbal
Finite / Non-finite Attributive Converb Gerund Gerundive Infinitive Participle (adjectival · adverbial) Supine Verbal noun
Accusative Ambitransitive Andative/Venitive Anticausative Autocausative Auxiliary Captative Catenative Compound Copular Defective Denominal Deponent Ditransitive Dynamic ECM Ergative Frequentative Impersonal Inchoative Intransitive Irregular Lexical Light Modal Monotransitive Negative Performative Phrasal Predicative Preterite-present Reflexive Regular Separable Stative Stretched Strong Transitive Unaccusative Unergative Weak
Collateral Demonstrative Nominalized Possessive Postpositive
Genitive Conjunctive Flat Locative Interrogative Prepositional Pronominal Relative
Demonstrative Disjunctive Distributive Donkey Dummy Formal/Informal Gender-neutral Gender-specific Inclusive/Exclusive Indefinite Intensive Interrogative Objective Personal Possessive Prepositional Reciprocal Reflexive Relative Resumptive Subjective Weak
Inflected Casally modulated Stranded
Article Demonstrative Interrogative Possessive Quantifier
Discourse Interrogative Modal Noun Possessive
Yes and no Copula Coverb Expletive Interjection (verbal) Preverb Pro-form Pro-sentence Pro-verb Proced