There is a class of adjectives that is formed from participles, both present participle (verb ending in –ing) and past participle (verb ending in –ed). Such adjectives are called participial adjectives. Although derived from verbs, they function like other adjectives to describe the nouns. The past participle stated here as ending in -ed refers to regular verbs. Irregular verb end differently


The present participle that ends in -ing talks about the person, thing, or event, while past participle ending in -ed says how people feel.



Present participle: He is damaging his health by smoking excessively.
Past participle: He has damaged his health through excessive smoking.
Present participle used as adjective: Excessive smoking has a damaging effect on his health.
Past participle used as adjective: His damaged health is caused by excessive smoking.

The present participle adjective tells us about something or someone that causes a feeling: amazing.

The past participle adjective tells us how someone feels about something or someone else: amazed.



Present participle adjective: The amazing acrobatic display captivated the audience.
Past participle adjective: They stared at the magic performance in amazed disbelief.



How the two different endings of participial adjectives are used


  • Their annoyed housemate told them to lower their voices. (Verb: annoy)

  • He has the annoying habit of picking his nose..

  • The decayed body of a cat attracted many flies. (Verb: decay)
  • The smell of decaying meat was nauseating.
  • She made frustrated attempts to look for the size she wanted. (Verb: frustrate)
  • It was a frustrating experience when none of them listened to what I said.
  • We could see the interested look on her face. (Verb: interest)
  • I must say it was a very interesting book.
  • The painted picture of a dodo's egg won the first prize. (Verb: paint)
  • The painting work has been done to a professional standard.
  • The second paper is a written test. (Verb: write)
  • She was chosen for her writing skill.
  • The police are investigating the burnt car..
  • A huge cloud of smoke rose from a burning oil tank.
  • The excited crowd waited for the actress to arrive.
  • It was an exciting match.
  • My frightened grandmother related about being chased by dogs.
  • Climbing that mountain was a frightening experience.




Modifying participial adjectives

Participial adjectives can be modified to show their intensity. To modify these adjectives, use adverbs such acompletelyextremelyfiercelyless, moremostrather,really, so, very, etc. 



  • The police are investigating the completely burnt cars.
  • A huge cloud of smoke rose from a fiercely burning oil tank.
  • The very excited crowd waited for the actress to arrive.
  • It was a really exciting match..
  • My rather frightened grandmother related about her being chased by dogs.
  • Climbing that mountain was an extremely frightening experience..




Most participial adjectives can be both attributive and predicative 



  • It is a computerized system.
  • The system is computerized.
  • She is an intelligent little girl.
  • The little girl is intelligent.
  • This is an exciting new magazine.
  • This new magazine is exciting..
  • I could hear irritating snores coming from his bedroom.
  • I could hear snores that are irritating coming from his bedroom.