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ESL/EFL Glossary: A Guide to applied linguistics terminology.

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participle:  participles are verb forms used as adjectives. They are similar to gerunds in that they both use the same kinds of modifiers and complements. The key to understanding participles is knowing that participles act like adjectives.  There are three kinds of participles: the present participle, the past participle, and the perfect participle.


                   The dancing bears escaped from their cages.

                                            (present participle modifying bears)

                    I gave some peanuts to the neglected monkeys.

                                            (past participle modifying monkeys)

                   Having killed the bull, the matador faced the audience.

                                            (perfect participle modifying matador)

When a participle takes modifiers and complements it is called a participial phrase as in the example:

               Hearing a sound outside the window, Matt went to                investigate.

Some common mistakes involving participles are the dangling participle and misplaced modifier.