Participial Adjectives

What are Participial Adjectives?

Participial adjectives are special types of adjectives that allow English writers to incorporate action into their descriptions. For example, participial adjectives can be used to say someone is “running tired” or “skateboarding excited”. In both of these scenarios, the participial adjective implies that an action is taking place prior to the feeling expressed by the person.

This type of descriptive language can add an extra layer of creativity and detail to a sentence or text. Participial adjectives are commonly employed in creative writing, adding vibrancy and depth to what might have otherwise been a mundane description.

Participial Adjectives Rules

Learning these four critical rules when using Participial Adjectives will help communication become clearer and easier.

Equal weightAdjectives should be of equal weight or importance. For example, you wouldn’t say “a very big and large house.”
Same FormAdjectives should be in the same form. For example, you wouldn’t say “a very big and large houses.”
Same CategoryAdjectives should be in the same category. For example, you wouldn’t say “a very cold and hot day.”
PlacementIf compound adjectives are made up of an adjective and a noun, the order usually goes adjective + noun. For example, you would say “a world-renowned chef,” not “a renowned world chef.”
Participial Adjectives Rules and Explanations Table
lillypad english learning app banner

Examples of Participial Adjectives

Participial adjectives are a type of adjective that use participial phrases (i.e., verb forms) to modify nouns. These phrases usually include the participial form of a verb, i.e. verbs ending with “ing” or “ed”. They are typically used to express the cause and effect of certain variables. For example:

  • “abandoned house” is one that has been left with no occupants; the participial phrase “abandoned” expresses the cause and the noun “house” expresses the effect.
  • “shattered window” is one that has been broken into many pieces – the participial phrase “shattered” indicates the cause and “window” expresses the effects.

By using participial adjectives, it’s possible to describe any sort of situation in a single word or phrase, which makes them incredibly powerful writing tools.

Participial Adjectives Exercises with Answers


  • The _ baby could not be comforted.
  • The _ walls completely transformed the room.
  • I was _ by the fluttering curtains.
  • The _ treasure caused quite a stir.
  • Seeing them all together was awe-_.


  • The crying baby could not be comforted.
  • The painted walls completely transformed the room.
  • I was startled by the fluttering curtains.
  • The hidden treasure caused quite a stir.
  • Seeing them all together was awe-inspiring.

Participial Adjectives List

hypnotizedUsed to describe someone who is under the influence of hypnosis.
impairedSuggests somebody affected by disability or loss.
liberatedRefers to somebody who has been set free from oppression or confinement.
maddenedGenerally means driving someone mad with grief or anger.
renovatedTypically indicates something that has undergone restoration or refurbishment.
shockedImplies intense emotional distress.
behavedIndicates a person’s actions or values.
Participial Adjectives List Table
LillyPad english learning app banner

Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

Learning a new language can be a difficult and intimidating process, but there are some strategies that ESL students and English language learners can use to improve their English. They should practice participial adjectives, which are describing words that end in -ing or -ed and express an action or situation. This can help them create more vivid descriptions when speaking or writing about a certain subject.

Additionally, participial adjectives give the speaker or writer more opportunities to observe what is happening at this present moment. With enough practice and exposure, ESL students and English language learners will be able to master participial adjectives and hone their academic writing and conversation skills. Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand Proper Adjectives and Appositive Adjectives.

Common Mistakes Made by English Learners

Mistakes are an inevitable part of learning any new language. For English learners, some of the more common mistakes made include using participial adjectives incorrectly. Participial adjectives, also known as “-(ed) participles,” are verb forms that are used to modify nouns and can be found in sentences such as “The fallen leaves” or “the broken dishes.” Many learners mistakenly treat participial adjectives as regular verbs when conjugating them. For example, instead of saying “The broken dishes” they may say “The breaking dishes.”

While mistakes are a natural part of the learning process, understanding and correctly applying participial adjectives is key to mastering English grammar. Here are four common mistakes many writers make when using adjectives:

Common Mistakes:

1. Incorrect Tense

Why it Happens

Not having a firm grasp on correct tense usage can confuse your statements. This can cause you to use the wrong adjectives and misconstrue your message.

Correct Use

When speaking in the present simple tense, you would use an adjective that reflects current habits and routines. Keep tense in mind when selecting your adjectives.

2. Lack of Compounds

Why it Happens

The first mistake is leaving out compound adjectives when needed. Failing to use these compound phrases can lead others to misinterpret what you are trying to express.

Correct Use

Compound adjectives join two words to accurately describe something – for example, ‘a well-known actress’ or a ‘tidy little package’.

lillypad english learning app banner

3. Inconsistency

Why it Happens

People forget how they described something before and change the context in a contradictory manner. This confuses the reader.

Correct Use

Be sure that your adjectives remain consistent throughout your writing. There should be no sudden shifts from ‘dark brown’ to ‘light tan’ unless there was a clear shift in the thing being described.

4. Incorrect Usage

Why it Happens

You don’t know which adjectives to use, so you use too many and it confuses the statement.

Correct Use

Using too many adjectives can make your writing sound monotonous and can also lead to viewers losing interest. Therefore it is important to focus on expressing yourself clearly and effectively with them.

Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes:

It’s easy to make a mistake when you’re writing, and one of the most common is using participial adjectives incorrectly. These are words that describe nouns but have verb-like endings. To avoid errors in participial adjective use, it’s important to practice forming them correctly. Make sure to follow these steps:

  • Identify the noun being described.
  • Conjugate the appropriate verb form needed to match the noun, and
  • Add the respective participial ending. For example, ‘tired’ is a participial adjective formed from ‘tiring’, which is a present participle form of the verb tire.

By mastering participial adjectives, you’ll become an even more skilled writer and be able to easily write without committing any common mistakes!

LillyPad english learning app banner

Learning Participial Adjectives Strategies and Best Practices

Participial adjectives are a tricky but essential piece of English grammar. For those wishing to learn participial adjectives and improve their use of them in language, it is important to know the strategies and best practices for learning such words. To begin, understanding the basic components and functions of participial adjectives will provide a foundation for further exploration. From there, you can move onto recognizing participial adjective phrases in everyday language as well as exploring the different conjugations participial adjectives have in different tenses and voices. Keep reading for more useful tips:

Tip 1: Study a List

Why it helps

Learning the various forms and using them properly in speaking and writing is easier than it seems with daily practice. A list can simplify this process and make it seem less daunting.

Daily Life Example

The best way to learn to use adjectives correctly is to study a list of adjectives and their usages, and then practice writing sentences with them.

Tip 2: Practice Reading

Why it helps

Exposing yourself to adjectives hidden between other words can help you identify them faster and with more accuracy.

Daily Life Example

To ensure that you understand how frequently an adjective should be used it’s important to practice reading with them as well, so the meanings become clear. So keep a book of your choice on hand and highlight every adjective you come across.

Tip 3: Everyday Conversations

Why it helps

By applying the adjectives exercise to everyday conversations, you’ll find these words easy to remember and use in the near future.

Daily Life Example

Take your time when speaking to people. Take note of the adjectives they use, and try and repeat them back in different contexts. You can also do this from the comfort of your home by recording yourself or using an AI assistant.

lillypad english learning app banner

Participial Adjectives Frequently Asked Questions

A participial is an adjective in a sentence, usually derived from a verb. Participials can be thought of as participial adjectives because they describe someone or something and usually answer the question ‘which one?’ They are formed by adding the following types of participle: -ing, -ed, or -en to a verb and act as adjectives that modify nouns or pronouns.

For example, the participial “smiling” modifies the pronoun “she,” making it clear which person is smiling. Generally speaking, participials add extra detail and interest to sentences.

Participles are verb forms that act as normal adjectives in a sentence. There are five common participial forms, with each one having a slightly different usage.

Participial adjectives are descriptive phrases that include a participial form followed by a noun or pronoun. The most commonly used participles are present participles (-ing), past participles (-ed or -en), perfect participles (-ed or -en and having + particular form of the verb), perfect progressive participials (having been + particular form of the verb) and passive participials (being + past participle).

These participial forms can be used to add detail to an otherwise mundane sentence, creating an interesting and vivid description.

A participle is a term used to refer to participial adjectives, which are words that are formed from verb forms and indicate the time or state of an action. They have been in use since ancient Greek, when they were referred to as participia verbalia.

Today, participles continue to play an important part in grammar, modifying nouns by expressing characteristics of persons or things that are related to the action described in a verb. Unlike regular adjectives, participial adjectives can also express actions taking place at the same time as another action. This has made them invaluable tools for adding further detail and nuance to sentences.

Participial adjectives are parts of speech that provide additional descriptions of nouns and pronouns, in the form of an adjective. These participial adjective forms rely on participles – verbs in the present or past tense – to form adjectives that add more depth of meaning to a sentence.

For example, while the phrase “the broken vase” is often sufficient to provide necessary context, “the shattered vase” helps create a fuller image by incorporating the participle ‘shattered’ as an additional participial adjective. Participial adjectives effectively transform ordinary sentences into expressive and vivid language.

Participle adjectives are complex language concepts that can be difficult to explain to students.

A good way to approach teaching participial adjectives is to explain it in terms of verb forms. Have students remember the verb forms they have seen before and make the connection that participial adjectives are just verb forms used as adjectives instead. Using simple examples, like how ‘running’ is a participial adjective form of the verb ‘run’, will help them make this connection.

Going through different types of participials and examples of each type can also help them understand and visualize the concept better. In addition, having them use participials in creative writing or skits can allow for further application practice to ensure comprehension.

Learn from History – Follow the Science – Listen to the Experts

For learners of all ages striving to improve their English, LillyPad combines the most scientifically studied and recommended path to achieving English fluency and proficiency with today’s most brilliant technologies!

What’s the one thing that makes LillyPad so special? Lilly! Lilly’s a personal English tutor, and has people talking all over the world! Lilly makes improving your English easy. With Lilly, you can read in four different ways, and you can read just about anything you love. And learning with Lilly, well that’s what you call liberating!

Additionally, the platform incorporates goal-setting capabilities, essential tracking & reporting, gamification, anywhere-anytime convenience, and significant cost savings compared to traditional tutoring methodologies.

At LillyPad, everything we do is focused on delivering a personalized journey that is meaningful and life-changing for our members. LillyPad isn’t just the next chapter in English learning…

…it’s a whole new story!

Do you want to improve your English? Visit

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram!

lillypad english learning app icon