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Past Participles in English


Past Participles in English

Meaning of Participles

Participle means a word that is derived from base form of the verb having characteristics of adjective and verb.

Definition of Participles

Participle is defined as a word that is derived from root form of the verb and functions as an adjective or to form verb tense. In other words, ‘ing’ or ‘3rd’ form of the verb that function as an adjective or a verb.

Basically, there are two types of participles: present participle and past participle. Perfect participle is also considered a type of participles according to some sources. In this content, we are going to discuss Past Participles in English. You can visit our site Study English Page to study Present Participles.

Past Participles in English

Past participle is the form of verb that is used in forming verb tense and used as an adjective. This form of the verb is also called ‘ed’ form or 3rd form of the verb that can be used in perfect tenses, passive voice, and it can also be used as an adjective.

  • There are many broken window in that house.
  • We have already cleaned the kitchen and yard.
  • Ali and John were invited to the party by me.

Past Participles in English

Past Participle Used as an Adjective

We can use past participle or 3rd form of the verb as an adjective to modify noun in a sentence. As an adjective modifies noun in a sentence, past participle can also be used to modify noun.

  • Collect all the pieces of broken window pane.
  • Police has arrested the thieves with the stolen Jewelry.  

Past Participle Used to Form Verb Tense

One of the functions of past participle is to form verb tense, so we use past participle form of the verb in all perfect tenses. We use has, have, or had as auxiliaries with past participle form of the verb.

  • I have installed anti-virus software in my personal computer.
  • They had reached there by the time I reached.
  • We will have bought everything by the time you come.
  • She has been teaching since she was twenty years old.
  • Ali had been waiting for just 20 minutes by the time we met.
  • He will have been waiting for you for at least five minutes when you reach.
  • Past Participle Used in Passive Voice

    We use past participle form of the verb in all passive voice sentences. 
    • Articles are written by me.
    • Anti-virus has been installed in my personal computer.

    Past Participle in Participle Phrases

    As discussed earlier, participle phrase is a phrase that has participle and works just like an adjective. It modifies noun or equivalent in a sentence.

    • The man taken to the hospital has recovered.
    • The man with torn sweater is coming here.
    • Exhausted from the marathon, John fell down.

    Identification of Past Participles

    The way how to identify past participle in a sentence is so simple. When you see 3rd form of the verb in a sentence, look at its function carefully. If it describes a noun, or is used with auxiliary in a sentence, the verb in this case is past participle.

    • The sheep jumped over the fence.
    • The sheep had jumped over the fence by the time shepherd reached.
  • In both of the above example, the word ‘jumped’ is used. Is it past participle in the both sentences or nor? The word ‘jumped’ in the first example is neither past participle nor adjective. ‘ed’ form of the verb without an auxiliary is considered past form of the verb if it does not modify a noun.

    The same word in the second example is past participle as it is used with auxiliary verb.

    • Broken doors must be repaired before opening the school.
    • Small kids have broken all the toys.

    The word ‘broken’ is the 3rd form of the irregular verb ‘break’. In the first example it describes the noun 'doors', so it is an adjective. In the second example, it is used in verb tense with the auxiliary ‘have’ and it is also past participle.

    Formation of Past Participles

    To form past participle, we add the suffix ‘-ed’ to the verb. There are some irregular verbs. They have their own past participle forms; they are not formed by adding ‘-ed’. To know about spelling rules, you can study spelling rules for adding ‘ed’ to the verb in our site Study English Page.

    • Talk ----- talked
    • Fry -------fried
    • Drop -----dropped
    • Freeze ---frozen
    • Fall ------fallen

    Other Key Points Related to Participles

    Difference between Past Form and Past Participle

    Past form of the verb and past participle of regular verbs are the same things. They are formed by adding the suffix ‘-ed’. Past form is just used in Simple Past Tense. Past participle is used as an adjective and in prefect tenses with auxiliaries has, have, or had.

    • When the sheep jumped over the fence, I reached. (Past Form)
    • The sheep had jumped over the fence, when I reached. (Past Participle)

    Perfect Participle

    Perfect participle is a combination of ‘having’ and past participle. We use perfect participle to indicate that one action happened before another. Basically, it is not a type of participles.

    • Having been written the letter, the letter was sent by Ali.
    • Having done homework, I ate dinner.

    Dangling Participle

    Sometimes participle is used, but it is not clear where or what the word being modified is. As a result, it creates confusion. Avoid using dangling participles in any cases.

    • Covered in ketchup, we enjoyed the chips. (Dangling Participle)
    • We enjoyed the chips covered in ketchup. (Correct)

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