Present Participle

Past Participle

verb + ing
  1. I talked to the men working on the roof.
  2. We watched the house being pulled. (passive)
  3. The house is a modern building, having been completely modernized. (perfect form - passive)
  4. Having shown us the his plans, the architect told us about the price. (perfect form - active)
verb + ed:
  1. I noticed sometrees planted at the side of the road. (regular verb form)
  2. The church, built by the Normans, is famous. (irregular verb form)

Present and past participle quite often stand for an adjective in a sentence.

        The captain of the damaged/sinking ship remained unmoved/standing on the deck.

Present and past participle quite often stand for an adverbial phrase and then function as sub-clauses.

  1. When leaving the harbour, we saw the Isle of Wight.
  2. When informed of the emergency, the passengers rushed to the lifeboats.


  Participles after verbs describing a position or movement (sit, stand, lie, remain, come, go + present participle)

He never goes out. He just sits watching TV. - two actions at the same time

- Er sitzt nur da und sieht fern. (im dt. mit "und" wiedergeben)

Most of the food remained untouched. - result of a previous action (remain/lie + past participle)

- Das meiste Essen blieb unberührt.

  Participles after verbs of perception and observation (see, hear, notice, find, watch, observe + object + present participle)

Some people watched us moving in.  - ... wie wir einzogen. (im dt. mit "wie" wiedergeben)


present participle (Wahrnehmung des Ablaufs) infinitive (Wahrnehmung des Gesamtgeschehens)
Do you hear those people speaking German? - I think they must be Austrians.

- ein Geschehen läuft/lief gerade ab

- nur ein Teil wurde wahrgenommen

I heard the doorbell ring once, but when I looked nobody was there.

- Geschehen wurde von Anfang bis Ende wahrgenommen

- oft Folge von Handlungen oder von kurzer Dauer

   Participles after "have" and "get" meaning "to cause"

have/get + object + past participle

We always have the car washed. Wir lassen den Wagen immer waschen.
Why don't you get your watch repaired? Warum lässt du deine Uhr nicht reparieren?

!!!!! Remember the position of the object !!!!!

She usually has her hair cut at the hairdresser's. (Sie lässt ihre Haare gewöhnlich beim Friseur schneiden.)

She has cut her hair herself this time. (Sie hat sich diesmal die Haare selbst geschnitten.)


Participles instead of relative clauses

Participle constructions are relative clauses where the relative pronoun is subject of the sub-clause.

The black girl

who is waiting at the bus stop

is one of my sisters.


waiting at the bus stop



   Participle constructions as adverbials without conjunctions

SENTENCES of that kind are used in written English and sound VERY FORMAL!

Looking down from the plane

(When we looked down from the plane)

we saw the lights of the city below. present participle (sub-clause)
Not knowing much about the climate in Australia

(As they didn't know much about ...)

the visitors were surprised by the hot weather. present participle (negative, sub clause)
Having travelled so far the first week,

(As they had travelled so far ...)

they were glad to have a rest for a few days. present participle (perfect form, sub clause)
Warned about the dangers of the strong sunlight

(As I had been warned about ...)

I decided to buy a sunhat. past participle (sub clause)

Constructions with the present participle are active sentences, those with past participles are passive sentences.


   Participle constructions as adverbials with conjunctions (while, though, as if)

While staying in Detroit I met one of my college friends. Während ich ...
His wife had prepared a very large meal as if expecting more than one visitor. ..., als wenn