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Verbals: Gerunds, Infinitives, and Participles

1. Present participle

The present participle is often used when we want to express an active action. In
English we add -ing to the infinitive of the verb.

1.1. Use of the present participle

Progressive Tenses: He is reading a book. He was reading a book.

Gerund: Reading books is fun. He likes reading books.

Adjective: Look at the reading boy.

Together with other words: He came reading around the corner.

He sat reading in the corner. I saw him reading.

2. Past participle

The past participle is often used when we want to express a passive action. In
English we add -ed to the infinitive of regular verbs. We use the 3rd (or 5 th) column of
the table of the irregular verbs.

2.1. Use of the past participle

Perfect Tenses: He has forgotten the pencil. He had forgotten the pencil.

Passiv voice: A house is built. A house was built.

Adjective: Look at the washed car.

Together with other words: The car washed yesterday is blue.

He had his car washed.

3. Compounds with the past participle

This combination is also known as perfect participle. It is used to form an active

sentence with the past participle. There is a time gap between the actions.

3.1. Past participle and having

Having read the book the boy came out of the room.

(One action happened after the other.)

3.2. Present participle

The boy came reading out of the room.

(Both actions happened at the same time.)

1. Use
1. to shorten relative clauses

2. to make one sentence out of two

3. after verbs of perception (e.g. see, watch, hear, listen to, smell, feel)

4. after verbs of rest and movement (e.g. run, go, come, stay, stand, lie, sit)

5. after the verb have

6. instead of a subordinate clause

2. Form
Present participle: an exciting race

Past participle: excited people

3. Examples
1. The cars which are produced in Japan are nice.
The cars produced in Japan are nice.

2. I saw the man. He came to the shop.

I saw the man coming to the shop.

3. I saw the car coming round the corner.

4. The girl sat sleeping on the sofa.

5. I have my clothes washed.

6. When they went to Texas they expected a better job.

Going to Texas they expected a better job.
Uses of the bare infinitive
The infinitive can be used with or without the marker to. These two forms of the
infinitive are distinguished by the terms to-infinitives and bare infinitives.

Uses of the bare infinitive

The infinitive without the marker to (bare-infinitive) is used after the auxiliaries shall,
should, will, would, may, might, do, did, can, could, must, need and dare.

I shall invite them.

We must go now.

He can speak English.

You need not go.

He dare not refuse.


When dare and need are used as principal verbs, they are followed by the to-

Did he dare to do that?

We will need two weeks to complete the work.

The infinitive is used without to after some principal verbs like bid, watch, see, let,
make, help and hear.

I bade him come. (NOT I bade him to come.)

Let him go. (NOT Let him to go.)

We heard her sing. (NOT We heard her to sing.)

I watched them play. (NOT I watched them to play.)

After rather, better and had better

The infinitive is used without to after rather, better and had better.

You had rather visit him.

I would rather wait.

You had better consult a doctor.

After some prepositions like except, but, save and than

She can do everything but cook.

She did nothing except cry.