How to Form Present and Past Participles of Regular English Verbs

By Geraldine Woods

When you are doing your English grammar homework, your struggles with participles may give you grey hairs. But feat not! Although the word sounds ominous, participles are not mysterious; as you may guess from the spelling, a participle is simply a part of the verb.

Each verb in English has two participles — a present participle and a past participle. You use the present participle in the present progressive tenses, which indicate that an action is ongoing. For regular verbs, the present participle uses the ing form of a verb:

The Search and Rescue helicopter is hovering on the western slope of Kit Carson peak.

The past participle helps form the present perfect tense because this tense spans both the past and present. Regular past participles are formed by adding ed to the verb.

The Search and Rescue team has recovered four lost hikers this year.

The following table shows a selection of regular participles.

Examples of Regular Participles
Verb Present Participle Past Participle
ask asking asked
beg begging begged
call calling called
dally dallying dallied
empty emptying emptied
fill filling filled
grease greasing greased