present participle

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present participle (plural present participles)

  1. (grammar) A nonfinite verb form that indicates an ongoing action or state and which can function as an adjective.

Usage notes[edit]

Present participles of English verbs are always formed with the suffix -ing. The English progressive (continuous) verb aspect is periphrastic—a phrase comprising a finite inflection (for the person, number and tense) of the auxiliary verb be followed by the full verb’s present participle. (The progressive can combine with other aspects; the perfect progressive aspect is periphrastically constructed with a finitely inflected auxiliary verb have + present participle of be (i.e., being) + past participle of the full verb.)

When a participle functions as a noun, it is called a gerund. A participle may also function as an adjective (that is, a participial adjective), especially in attributive use. It can evolve to become either a true noun or a true adjective, or both, with a shift in meaning, sometimes substantial. To see examples, look for words ending in “-ing” in Category:English adjectives and Category:English nouns.



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