present participle


Definition of present participle

: a participle that typically expresses present action in relation to the time expressed by the finite verb in its clause and that in English is formed with the suffix -ing and is used in the formation of the progressive tenses

Examples of present participle in a Sentence

The verbs “dancing” in “He was dancing” and “crying” in “The baby is crying” are present participles.
Recent Examples on the Web Use of the present participle denotes present and continuing action. . . . Jack Greiner, The Enquirer, "Strictly Legal: Ohio Supreme Court ruling in Dayton shooting case leaves public less informed," 11 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'present participle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of present participle

1864, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for present participle

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The first known use of present participle was in 1864

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Statistics for present participle

Last Updated

13 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Present participle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for present participle

present participle


English Language Learners Definition of present participle

grammar : a verb form that ends in "-ing" and that is used with "be" to refer to action that is happening at the time of speaking or a time spoken of

present participle


Kids Definition of present participle

: the form of a verb that in English is formed with the suffix -ing and that expresses present action

More from Merriam-Webster on present participle

Nglish: Translation of present participle for Spanish Speakers

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