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, 11 Nov. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'present participle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1864, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of present participle was in 1864

Dictionary Entries Near present participle

Cite this Entry

“Present participle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

present participle

pres·​ent participle
: a participle that expresses present action, that in English is formed with the suffix -ing, and that indicates action going on

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