The present participle form

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search
my dream car;image provided courtesy of


Welcome to unit three of this module.In this module we are looking at the various forms that verbs take (Principal parts) and the functions of each of the forms.The present participle is the form of a verb that ends with "".

Icon objectives.jpg
By the end of this unit you should be able to recognize the various functions of the form,and use them correctly in sentences.

==The present participle form of a verb has several functions.these include the following:

1.It is used with a form of the verb "be" to make continuous tenses-present,past,or future.

2.It is used as a verbal noun or gerund.

3.It is also used as an adjective.

Now let us look at each of the above functions of the present participle

Present Participle and the continuous tense

Continuous tenses are formed using a form of the verb"be" (as an auxiliary),plus the form of the main verb.Forms of the verb "be" are-(be,am,is, are, was, were, been,being).

"Am","is" and "are" are used to make the present continuous tense."am" and "is" are singular and "are" is plural.Look at these example;

1.I am reading a book.("am" is used only with the 1st person singular to express the present moment).

2.She is writing a poem.(Note that "is" is the "s"form of the verb "be" so it is used with the 3rd person singular subjects and the pronouns which substitute them.)

3.We are studying grammar.

4.Ali and Caroline are reading;they are reading a poem.

"Was" and "were" are plural forms;"was" is singular and "were" is plural.

Look at these examples:


1.I was reading a poem.

2. She was reading a poem.

3.Ali and Caroline were reading a poem;they were reading a poem.

The forms "be", "been" and "being" are used in special structures.

"Be" is used to make structures as given in the example below:

We say, "Be a good boy".

We also use "be" preceded by the modal "will" plus an ...ingform to express actions or situations that will happen or exist in the future.


!.Caroline will be reading my poem.

2.Sheikh will be writing his thesis next month.

The form "been" is the past participle and is used in a structure that forms the perfect tense in the passive.

1.The food has been eaten.

2.Everything has been destroyed in the storm.

The form being is used to form continuous tenses in the passive.


1.The boys are being admonished for bad behavior.

2,My car is being washed.

Present participle as verbal noun

The formis also used as a noun and can function as a subject of a sentence,object,or complement. Bold text Look at these examples:

1.Learning is fun.(learning in this sentence is the subject)

2.Sheikh likes reading(reading in this sentence is an object)

3.What I like is swimming(swimming in this sentence is a complement)

Present participle as an adjective

Now let us look at these sentences;

1.This is a cooking pot.(the word cooking describes pot)

2.Wedding ceremonies can be lavish.(the word wedding describes ceremonies)

3.Sheikh bought a writing pad.(the word writing describes pad)

4.She has a smiling face.(the word smiling describes face)

Icon summary.gif


We have learned that the Present Participle form has three functions-forms continuous tenses with a form of the verb be;functions as a verbal noun; also functions as an adjective.It is important to take note of this functions to avoid errors in meaning

Icon assess.gif


For each of the functions of the present participle write five sentences of your own; Try to be as original as possible

Icon reading.jpg


For further reading try NOUN Access English by National Open University of Nigeria,2004