Verb -ing Used as the Present Participle


The English language is rich with grammatical forms, one of which is known as the present participle. More specifically, verbs ending in '-ing' serve as the present participles in sentences. This form is not only used for the continuous tense but also is featured in numerous grammatical constructs.

Defining the Present Participle

A present participle is a verb form that ends in '-ing'. It can be used to represent ongoing actions in the present. For instance, in the sentence, "He's reading a book," the word 'reading' is an instance of a present participle. Furthermore, the present participle also serves other functions in a sentence, which can include being an adjective, forming verb tense, or acting as a noun in the case of a gerund.

Different Uses of '-ing' Verbs (Present Participles)

1. Gerunds: Gerunds are verb forms ending in '-ing' that function as a noun within a sentence. For instance, "Running is my favorite activity." In this sentence, 'running' acts as the subject.

2. Adjectives: '-ing' verbs can also function as adjectives to describe a noun. An example of this use is: "That is an interesting book." Here, 'interesting' describes the book.

3. Continuous tense: The verb '-ing' form is used to construct the continuous tense, which refers to ongoing action. For instance, "I am running in a marathon." indicates an action happening now.

Forming the Present Participle

In most cases, forming the present participle is straightforward and simply involves adding '-ing' to the base form of the verb. However, there are some exceptions and variations to remember:

  • If the verb ends in 'e', drop the 'e' and add '-ing'. For instance, 'write' becomes 'writing'. The exceptions to this rule are 'ageing', 'eyeing', and 'being'.
  • If the verb consists of one syllable and ends in a single vowel followed by a single consonant, double the final consonant before adding '-ing'. For example, 'run' transforms to 'running'.
  • If the verb has two syllables, and the accent is on the second syllable, then the final consonant is doubled before adding ‘-ing’. For instance 'prefer' becomes 'preferring'.
  • Using Present Participle in Continuous Tenses

    The present participle is notably used in continuous (or progressive) tense forms. This form of verb tense is used to show action that is, was, or will be in progress at a certain time. Continuous tenses with the present participle include:

    1. Present Continuous Tense: This is formed with 'am', 'is', or 'are', + present participle. Example: "She is studying for the test."

    2. Past Continuous Tense: This tense is formed with 'was' or 'were', + present participle. Example: "They were playing football."

    3. Future Continuous Tense: This is formed with 'will be', or 'shall be', + present participle. Example: "I will be going to the concert."

    Reduced Adverb Clauses with Present Participle

    The Present Participle is also frequently used to reduce adverb clauses of time. "While I was walking to the store, I saw an old friend." can be reduced to "Walking to the store, I saw an old friend." In this case, 'Walking to the store' is the reduced form of the adverb clause 'While I was walking to the store'.


    Remember, using present participles in your sentences can contribute to a richer, more complex expression of ideas by allowing you to convey ongoing actions, use verbs as adjectives or nouns, and simplify your sentences. Understanding how and when to use these versatile forms is an essential part of mastering English grammar and enhancing your writing and communication skills.

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