Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to participle: present participle
Participles are words formed from verbs that can function as adjectives or gerunds or can be used to form the continuous tenses and the perfect tenses of verbs. There are two participle forms: the present participle and the past participle.
A form of a verb that in some languages, such as English, can function independently as an adjective, as the past participle baked in We had some baked beans, and is used with an auxiliary verb to indicate tense, aspect, or voice, as the past participle baked in the passive sentence The beans were baked too long.
[Middle English, from Old French, variant of participe, from Latin participium (translation of Greek metokhē, sharing, partaking, participle), from particeps, particip-, partaker; see participate.]
Usage Note: Participial phrases such as walking down the street or having finished her homework are commonly used in English to modify nouns or pronouns, but care must be taken in incorporating such phrases into sentences. Readers will ordinarily associate a participle with the noun, noun phrase, or pronoun adjacent to it, and misplacement may produce comic effects as in He watched his horse take a turn around the track carrying a racing sheet under his arm. A correctly placed participial phrase leaves no doubt about what is being modified: Sitting at her desk, Jane read the letter carefully. · Another pitfall in using participial phrases is illustrated in the following sentence: Turning the corner, the view was quite different. Grammarians would say that such a sentence contains a "dangling participle" because there is no noun or pronoun in the sentence that the participial phrase can logically modify. Moving the phrase will not solve the problem (as it would in the sentence about the horse with a racing sheet). To avoid distracting the reader, it would be better to recast the sentence as When we turned the corner, the view was quite different or Turning the corner, we had a different view. · A number of expressions originally derived from participles have become prepositions, and these may be used to introduce phrases that are not associated with the immediately adjacent noun phrase. Such expressions include concerning, considering, failing, granting, judging by, and speaking of. Thus one may write without fear of criticism Speaking of politics, the elections have been postponed or Considering the hour, it is surprising that he arrived at all. See Note at very.
[C14: via Old French from Latin participium, from particeps partaker, from pars part + capere to take]
participial adj, n
par•ti•ci•ple(ˈpɑr təˌsɪp əl, -sə pəl)
a nonfinite verbal form that can function as an adjective or be used with certain auxiliaries to make compound verb forms, as burning in a burning candle or devoted in your devoted friend. Abbr.: part. Compare past participle, present participle.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French, variant of participe < Latin participium, derivative (with -ium -ium1) of particeps taking part =parti- (s. of pars) part + -cep- (comb. form of capere to take) + -s nominative singular ending]
usage: See dangling participle, misplaced modifier.
A form of a verb that can also function as an adjective, such as “cooked” or “pressing.”
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||participle - a non-finite form of the verb; in English it is used adjectivally and to form compound tenses|
verb - the word class that serves as the predicate of a sentence
present participle - a participle expressing present action; in English is formed by adding -ing