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
- 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.