Sometimes verbs get confusing, so here’s a little trick to help you figure out participles:

What is a participle?

Participles, both past and present, are verb forms that can be used as an adjective or a noun.

Take a common verb like jump. It can be used as a noun as in:

  • Jumping over the hedgerows is exhausting.

It can also be used as an adjective:

  • The jumping bean held the children’s attention far longer than the teacher expected.

Examples of present participles

An easy way to distinguish is present participles always end in 'ing'.

  • Adding
  • Carrying
  • Enjoying
  • Boiling
  • Barking
  • Gasping

  • Enjoying a good ice cream cone with my best friend is excellent therapy.

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Examples of past participles

Most common verbs ending in 'ed' form the past participle, such as:

  • Added
  • Carried
  • Enjoyed
  • Boiled
  • Barked
  • Gasped

  • The boiled potato was rather mushy and dank.

Examples of irregular past participles

Some past participles are a little trickier. Thanks to irregular verbs, you have words like:

  • Brought (from the verb bring)
  • Rung (from the verb ring)
  • Risen (from the verb rise)
  • Built (from the verb build)
  • Broken (from the verb break)
  • Swollen (from the verb swell)

  • Jeff’s two swollen eyes and broken nose looked even more ghastly the next day.

  • Brought by Claire, the hummus was an instant hit at the party.

So there isn’t a hard and fast rule that you can use to form past participles from irregular verbs. That’s why it’s so hard to teach young children to say “brought” instead of “brung.”

Common Questions about Participles

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