Present Participle

What are Present Participle verbs?

Present participle verbs are a fascinating component of the English language. Essentially, present participles are verbs that end in -ing and are used as adjectives to modify nouns and present continuous tenses to describe ongoing actions.

For example, the present participle verb “cooking” would mean someone who is actively preparing food. They can also indicate a form of process or frequent activities; for instance, “shopping” would imply regularly going out to purchase items.

Moreover, present participle verbs can also be used in perfect progressive tenses to emphasize a habit or action occurring over an extended period of time. Ultimately, present participle verbs add depth and detail to sentences and foster greater comprehension in readers.

Present Participle Rules

Learning these four critical rules when using the Present Participle will help communication become clearer and easier.

ConjugationsBe aware that many verbs have unique simple present conjugations and must be memorized separately from the regular form – for example, the verb ‘I went’ becomes ‘going’ instead of ‘went’.
Habitual actionsRemember that present participle sentences indicate habitual actions or those which occur in the present tense.
DescriptionsPresent participle verbs emphasize universal truths like wide-spread statements of fact while simple past adverbs can be used to describe an action taking place beyond a single instance.
Auxiliary verbPresent participle questions use an auxiliary verb alongside the main verb – such as ‘did’, ‘was’, or ‘were’ – when forming a question.
Present Participle Rules and Explanations Table
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Examples of Present Participle Verbs

Present participle verbs are an important part of English grammar. These present participle verbs can be used to describe the action taking place at the same time as the main verb, or they can also be used to form progressive tenses. Common examples of present participle verbs include:

  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Eating
  • Writing

All of these present participle verbs imply that some sort of present or ongoing action is taking place. By mastering present participle verbs, one can expand their English vocabulary in exciting ways.

Present Participle Exercises with Answers


  • I am _ on the beach.
  • You are _ too loud.
  • He is _ in his bed.
  • She is _ on the floor.
  • It is _ outside that I enjoy.


  • I am running on the beach.
  • You are talking too loud.
  • He is sleeping in his bed.
  • She is crying on the floor.
  • It is eating outside that I enjoy.

Present Participle Verbs List

EatingTypically occurs multiple times throughout the day for sustenance.
ThinkingAn individual’s thought process.
SpeakingCommonly used when communicating.
DoubtingA way of saying something is unsure
LeavingUsed to indicate impermanence
GoingSuggests expectations of going somewhere.
WritingTo describe an action of recording things down.
Present Participle Verbs List Table
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

As an ESL student or English language learner, one of the best ways to begin learning the language quickly is to focus on present participles. Present participles are verb forms used in present tense sentences which involve an action that is ongoing. These verbs contain “-ing” suffixes and can be tricky for non-native English speakers to understand and use correctly.

To get the hang of present participles, break down the verb into its parts rather than trying to find a direct translation from your native language. As you practice present partitives more frequently, you’ll find yourself picking up English quickly and forming full sentences with ease.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand past participle, simple past and simple or base form.

Common Mistakes Made by English Learners

English learners often make the same mistakes due to their lack of familiarity with the language. One of these is misusing present participle phrases, which are commonly confused with present progressive tense sentences. This happens because present participles include many words that are also found in present progressive tenses, such as gerunds and present participle verbs.

While present progressive tenses use present participles to illustrate ongoing actions, present participles alone are used when describing completed activities or habits. If English learners can remember the difference between these two uses of present participle phrases, they can avoid mistakes in conjugation and usage.

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 verbs and misconstrue your message.

Correct Use

When speaking in the present participle, you would use a verb that reflects current habits and routines. Keep tense in mind when selecting your verbs.

2. Lack of Compounds

Why it Happens

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

Correct Use

Verbs join two words to actions – for example, ‘to eat something’ or ‘I am crossing the street’.

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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 verbs remain consistent throughout your writing. There should be no sudden shifts from ‘happen’ to ‘finish’ unless there was a clear shift in the thing being described.

4. Incorrect Usage

Why it Happens

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

Correct Use

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

Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes:

Developing the habit of editing your work can be a vital tool in avoiding common mistakes.

Taking the time to read over what you have written with a critical eye and present participle will help you catch any errors that may have been present before. Not only that but doing so will also help improve your writing quality further as you begin to identify what is working and what could be improved upon in each piece.

Going through this process every time you complete a task, even if it is something small, can have lasting benefits for any writer.

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Learning Present Participle Strategies and Best Practices

Learning present participle strategies and best practices can help students improve their writing skills. The present participle is used to express present or future actions and present states of being.

By understanding how to effectively use present participles in a sentence, students will be able to construct meaningful sentences that more accurately convey their thoughts. Additionally, understanding present participles can provide additional clarity when it comes to citing works and resources in essays. Utilizing present participle strategies and best practices will help students become better writers as they progress through their educational careers. Additionally, 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 verbs correctly is to study a list of verbs and their usages, and then practice writing sentences with them.

Tip 2: Practice Reading

Why it helps

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

Daily Life Example

To ensure that you understand how frequently a type of verb 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 verb you come across.

Tip 3: Everyday Conversations

Why it helps

By applying the verbs 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 verbs 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.

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Present Participle Verbs Frequently Asked Questions

Participial phrases are verbal forms, similar to adjectives, often used to express an ongoing action. Examples of present participles include laughing, running, studying, and shouting. They can also be formed from regular verbs by adding “ing,” such as turning into turning.

These continuous verb tenses are usually used in the present progressive tense, which describes actions that are currently happening or that will occur in the present or future. For instance with these examples of sentences, “She is laughing” or “He will be running.”

Present participles can also function as gerunds when used as verbal nouns; for example with the adjectival phrase, “Running takes up much of my time.”

The present participle is one of the key components of the English language and understanding its rule is important for anyone learning English. Generally, present participles are created by adding -ing to a verb, though small changes may need to be applied in certain cases. For example, present participle forms of irregular verbs do not necessarily follow these rules. Examples of these continuous verb tenses include ‘singing’, ‘jumping’, and ‘sleeping’.

In order to learn perfect grammar rules in the English language, be careful to edit your work for the wrong noun, spelling errors, misplaced modifiers, incorrect compound tenses, confusing noun equivalents, or confusing sentence modifiers. 

The present participle is an essential form of grammar that can give action verbs an ongoing or continuous quality.

It is also a key part of perfect tenses and the present progressive in English – for example, ‘I am running’ or ‘she has been waiting’. When present participles are strung together in a sentence (such as ‘he was running quickly’), they can convey a sense of immediacy and continuous verb tenses without making any changes to the verb itself.

While this blog covers the English counterpart, these are also found in other forms of modern grammar, including Greek grammar, Scandinavian languages, the Lithuanian language, Slavic languages, Latin adjectives, Arabic participles, and numerous other languages. 

A present participle is often referred to as a participle because it is both an adjective and a verb, making it one of the most versatile parts of speech. It also has one of the coolest names out there!

A present participle can appear in various formats, such as participial phrases ending in -ing (shopping, writing) or being used with a helping verb (is shopping, has written). While these continuous verb tenses have different uses in various languages, they remain universally named participles due to their hybrid nature. They are useful continuous verb tenses. 

Starting a sentence with a present participle is completely acceptable, though it is often avoided in formal writing. As continuous verb tenses, they are sometimes referred to as an ‘-ing’ verb and are used to express actions currently taking place. These prepositional phrases can include conditions, states of being, or habitual actions.

Used effectively, these participial phrases can add a more poetic feel to any piece of writing by embodying the present moment and showing the reader short glimpses into meaningful events.

Additionally, present participles might be used when describing a scene or situation unfolding before or around the narrator or main character of a story. These English verbs can also be used to provide descriptions for various subjects including syntactic subjects, and implicit subjects. 

There is a wide array of participles, which include: the future participle, dangling participle, perfect participle, participle conjugations, active participles, adverbial participles, passive participles, adjectival participles, basic participles, simple participles, true participles, aspect and non-aspectual participles, participle of necessity, semi-participles and various other participial forms. 

These will give your writing various forms of meaning, including descriptive meaning, dynamic meaning, English meaning, and verbal meaning. Especially in terms of diversity within your type of phrase, including your adverbial phrases, compound phrases, grammatical phrases, postpositive phrases, absolute phrases, and many others.

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