Present Participle


A participle is a form of a verb that is used together with another verb to form certain tenses.

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In the English language, there are mainly two types of participles: the present participle and the past participle.

In this lesson, we will focus on the uses of the present participle.

The present participle is a participle that ends in "ing." Both regular and irregular verbs have a present participle.

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How to form the present participle

To form the present participle, add "ing" to the end of a verb following these spelling rules:

1. most verbs => add "ing" to the end without changing the spelling
  • look => looking

  • sing => singing

  • pick => picking

  • rain => raining

  • call => calling

  • talk => talking

  • work => working

  • play => playing

  • jump => jumping

  • sleep => sleeping

  • learn => learning

  • worry => worrying

  • shock => shocking

  • type => typing

  • end => ending

  • cry => crying
crying

2. verbs ending in silent "e" => drop the final "e"  and add "ing"
  • bake => baking

  • bite => biting

  • fake => faking

  • drive => driving

  • tape => taping

  • wipe => wiping

  • wake => waking
waking

3. verbs with a short stressed vowel sound => double the final consonant and add "ing"
  • swim => swimming

  • plan => planning

  • slam => slamming

  • tip => tipping

  • whip = > whipping

  • sit => sitting

  • pat => patting

  • run => running
running

4. verbs ending in "ie" => change "ie" to "y" and add "ing"

  • lie => lying

  • die => dying

  • tie => tying
tying

Present participle and progressive tenses

The present participle is commonly used together with the verb "to be" to form progressive tenses (also called continuous).


A) Past Progressive

Past Progressive is a form of the verb that shows the action was in progress at a certain point, or at some time period in the past.

was/were + present participle
  • I was looking for it yesterday.raining

  • He was sleeping all night.

  • It was raining this morning.

  • We were eating at 6 o'clock.

  • Last week, they were visiting their family.

B) Present Progressive

Present Progressive is a form of the verb that shows the action is in progress in the present.

am/is/are + present participle
  • At this moment, I am typing.painting

  • Right now, she is writing.

  • It is snowing outside today.

  • We are planning our vacation now.

  • Currently, they are painting the eggs.

C) Future Progressive

Future Progressive is a form of the verb that shows the action will be in progress at a certain point, or at some time period, in the future.

will + be + present participle
  • I will be swimming tomorrow.driving

  • He will be driving all day.

  • It will be working soon.

  • We will be signing the papers in the morning.

  • At 7 o'clock, they will be baking cookies.

D) Past Perfect Progressive

Past Perfect Progressive is a form of the verb that shows the action started in the past and continued up until another time or action in the past.

had + been + present participle
  • I had been reading until you interrupted me.practicing

  • She had been practicing the song for hours until she got it right.

  • It had been squeaking until I fixed it.

  • We had been planning to visit until the accident.

  • They were tired because they had been running all day.

E) Present Perfect Progressive

Present Perfect Progressive is a form of the verb that shows the action started in the past and continued up until the present.

have/has been + present participle
  • I have been working here since 2010.talking

  • He has been studying for 2 hours.

  • It has been snowing since last night.

  • We have been talking for an hour.

  • They have been calling you for three days.


F) Future Perfect Progressive

Future Perfect Progressive is a form of the verb that shows the action will continue up until some time in the future.

will + have + been + present participle
  • By Saturday, I will have been working for 10 days straight.studying

  • At 9 o'clock, he will have been studying for 30 minutes.

  • By the end of the day, it will have been raining for 2 days.

  • In 2013, we will have been living here for 3 years.

  • At noon, they will have been waiting for 2 hours.

Present participles as adjectives

Present participles can also be used as adjectives
  • Mr. James is a boring teacher.

  • We saw the glowing light.

  • It was an amazing show.

  • The gifts are exciting!

  • The shopping mall is open late tonight.

  • Nick told us a shocking story.

  • The meal was satisfying.

  • That television show is so confusing.

  • The princess dances with the charming prince.

  • They told us the disappointing news.

  • The ocean is a welcoming sight!

  • Sandy watched a terrifying movie last night.
terrifying movie

Present participles and gerunds

A gerund is a noun made from a verb.

To make a gerund, you add "ing" to a verb just like a present participle.

A present participle can only act as a verb or adjective.

Gerunds act as nouns.


This was an overview of the present participles. Now that you understand, it is time to practice! Get our ESL Books.

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