Uses of the participle

June 24, 2010pdf

To form the continuous tenses

The present participles are used to construct the continuous tense forms.

  • I am writing.
  • They are coming.
  • It was raining.
  • She will be sleeping.

To form the perfect tenses

The past participles are used to construct the perfect tense forms.

  • He has written a novel.
  • The boy has broken yet another window.
  • The baby has slept for three hours.

The past participles are also used to form the passive voice.

  • They have been invited.
  • This house was built by my grand father.

To qualify nouns or pronouns

Participles can be used to modify nouns or pronouns. They may be used:

Attributively (before a noun)

  • A rolling stone gathers no moss.
  • A lost opportunity never returns.

Predicatively (as part of the predicate)

  • He kept me waiting.
  • He looked worried.

The participle may also be used absolutely with a noun or pronoun going
before it.

  • The weather being fine, we went out.
  • God willing, we shall meet again.
  • The sea being smooth, they embarked on their voyage.

Note that in the sentences given above, the participle with the noun or
pronoun going before it forms a phrase independent of the rest of the
sentence. Such a phrase is called an absolute phrase. A noun or pronoun so used with a participle is called a nominative absolute.

An absolute phrase can be easily changed into a subordinate clause.

  • As the weather was fine, we went out.
  • If God is willing, we shall meet again.
  • Because the sea was smooth, they embarked on their voyage.
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