Definition of participle
: a word having the characteristics of both verb and adjective; especially : an English verbal form that has the function of an adjective and at the same time shows such verbal features as tense and voice and capacity to take an object <In “the finished product,” the word “finished” is a participle formed from the verb “finish.”>
Examples of participle in a sentence
In the phrases “the finishing touches” and “the finished product,” “finishing” and “finished” are participles formed from the verb “finish.”
Did You Know?
English verbs can take several basic forms, which we call their principal parts: the infinitive ("to move", "to speak", etc.), the past tense ("moved", "spoke"), the past participle ("moved", "spoken"), and the present participle ("moving", "speaking"). The participles are words that "take part" in two different word classes: that is, verb forms that can also act like adjectives ("the spoken word", "a moving experience"). A grammatical error called a dangling participle occurs when a sentence begins with a participle that doesn't modify the subject; in the sentence "Climbing the mountain, the cabin came in view", for example, "climbing" is a dangling participle since it doesn't modify "cabin".
Origin and Etymology of participle
Middle English, from Anglo-French, modification of Latin participium, from particip-, particeps
First Known Use: 14th century
PARTICIPLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of participle for English Language Learners
grammar : a form of a verb that is used to indicate a past or present action and that can also be used like an adjective
PARTICIPLE Defined for Kids
Definition of participle for Students
: a form of a verb that is used to indicate a past or ongoing action and that can be used like an adjective <The word “smiling” in “the smiling child” is a participle.>
Seen and Heard
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