Present Participles

A present participle is a form of verb. We use it in continuous tenses, and to modify nouns or pronouns.

Making the Present Participle

To make the present participle, we add -ing to the verb.

VerbPresent Participle

Making Present Participles

Using Present Participles in Continuous Tenses

We use present participles with ‘be’ to make continous tenses.

The girl was running.

‘Running’ is the present participle.
Learn more about continous tenses.

Using Present Participles to Modify Nouns or Pronouns

We can use present participles on their own to modify nouns and pronouns, or we can use them as part of a participle phrase.

Present Participles as Adjectives

We can use present participles to modify nouns in the same way that we use adjectives.

The running water filled the tub.

The present participle, ‘running’, describes the noun, ‘water’.

The cold water filled the tub.

The adjective, ‘cold’, describes the noun, ‘water’.

Present Participles in Participle Phrases

We can use present participles as part of a phrase which modifies a noun or pronoun.

Running by the river, John saw a strange bird.

The present participle, ‘running’, modifies the noun, ‘John’.