Past participles are parts of verbs used to form many verb tenses. We use them to form the past perfect tense, present perfect tense, and future perfect tense, but what are they? Here are some examples.
I have seen six deer!
The students have graduated from high school.
What are they?
Every verb has what are called four principal parts. This means that we can take any verb and break it into these parts. Past participles are simply one of those principal parts of a verb.
Here's a chart showing you some examples of verbs broken into their principal parts.
Here's some good news for you: Regular verbs follow a pattern!
That's why they are called regular. If you have a regular verb, simply add -d or -ed to the present tense form of the verb.
||+ d or ed
Now, here's some bad news for you: Irregular verbs don't follow a pattern. This can make it hard to know the past participles of irregular verbs. But, know that you can always use a dictionary if you're unsure. You'll see some examples in this chart.
||Change to ?
Don't Get Confused
When people talk about participles, they may be referring to something a little different from what we've covered on this page. They might be talking about something called a verbal. Verbals are verb forms that look like verbs but don't act like verbs.
Participles are a type of verbal that act like an adjective instead of a verb.
The running deer were beautiful!
Running is a participle. It looks like a verb, but it acts like an adjective modifying the noun deer.
The burned toast tasted awful.
In this sentence, burned is a participle. It looks like a verb, but it acts like an adjective modifying the noun toast.