Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Understanding Present and Past Participles

Understanding Present and Past Participles In  traditional English grammar, a participle is a  verbal that typically  ends in -ing (the present participle)  or -ed (the past participle).  Adjective:  participial. By itself, a  participle can function as an  adjective  (as in the sleeping baby or the damaged pump). In combination with one or more  auxiliary verbs,  a participle can indicate tense, aspect, or  voice.  Ã‚   Present participles end in -ing (for example,  carrying, sharing, tapping). Past participles of regular verbs end in -ed (carried, shared, tapped). Past participles of irregular verbs have various endings, most often -n or -t (broken, spent). As linguists have long observed, both of these terms- present and  past- are misleading.  [B]oth [present and past]  participles are used in the formation of a variety of complex constructions (tenses) and can . . .  refer to  past, present, or future time (e.g., What had they been doing? This must be drunk soon).  Preferred terms are -ing form (which also includes gerund) and -ed form/-en form (Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar, 2014). EtymologyFrom the Latin, share, partake, participate Examples of Present Participles Ahead of Perenelle, a crowd gathered around a young man with a  dancing bear. (Stephen Leigh, Immortal Muse. DAW, 2014)Newport harbor lay stretched out in the distance, with  the rising moon  casting a long, wavering track of silver upon it. (Harriet Beecher Stowe,  Uncle Toms Cabin, 1852)Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing. (Robert Benchley)The ducks come on swift, silent wings, gliding through the treetops as if guided by radar, twisting, turning, never touching a twig in that thick growth of trees that surrounded the lake.(Jack Denton Scott, The Wondrous Wood Duck. Sports Afield, 1976) Examples of Past Participles During the thunderstorm, the frightened cat hid under the bed.[T]he clock, its face supported by plump cupids of painted china, ticked with a small busy sound. (Robert Penn Warren, Christmas Gift. The Virginia Quarterly Review, 1938)The new home stood beside the macadamized new road and was high and boxlike, painted yellow with a roof of glittering tin. (Elizabeth Bishop, The Farmers Children Harpers Bazaar, 1949)One January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover, anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown away. (Willa Cather, O Pioneers! 1913)The Bibles Jezebel came to an ugly end. Thrown from a balcony, trampled by horses, and devoured by dogs, the middle-aged queen has had few good days since. (Review of Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible’s Harlot Queen by Lesley Hazleton. The Week, November  29, 2007)I believe in broken, fractured, complicated narratives, but I believe in narratives as a vehicle for truth, not simply as a form of en tertainment. (Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. W.W.  Norton, 2004) Source of the Terms Present and Past [There is] an apparent contradiction  in  our selection of terminology for  the present and past  participles. We have described the participles as non-tensed, and yet we have used the terms present and past to distinguish them. These  terms, in fact, derive from  the most characteristic uses of the participles, in constructions such as: Sue has made a sponge cake Sue is making a sponge  cake In (1) the making of the cake is located in past time and in (2) it is located in present time. Note, however, that it is not the participles themselves that suggest this difference, but rather the total contructions. Consider: Sue was making a sponge cake Here the making of the cake is certainly not located in the present but rather, as was indicates, in the past.  We thus wish to retain the  traditional terms on the grounds that they relate to the characteristic uses of the two forms, but at the same time insist that the forms are  tenseless: there is no  tense contrast between them. -(Peter Collins and Carmella Hollo, English Grammar: An Introduction, 2nd ed. Palgrace Macmillan,  2010) Examples of Present and Past Participial Phrases Leaking from restaurant walls, beamed into airports as they landed and automobiles as they crashed, chiming from steeples, thundering from parade grounds, tingling through apartment walls, carried through the streets in small boxes, violating even the peace of desert and the forest, where drive-ins featured blue musical comedies, music at first overwhelmed, then delighted, then disgusted, and finally bored them (John Updike, The Chaste Planet. Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism. Knopf, 1983)   Participles as Quasi-Adjectives As modifiers of  nouns, present and past participles of verbs function very much like adjectives. Indeed, they are sometimes regarded as adjectives when they modify nouns. A present participle attributes a quality of action to the noun, which is viewed as undertaking the action, as retreating of legs in [109]. A past participle views the noun as having undergone the action expressed by the participle, as prefabricated of buildings in [110]. [109] . . . the cripples envy at his straight, retreating legs[110] various prefabricated buildings Thus, the present is an active participle and the past is a passive participle.(Howard Jackson, Grammar and Meaning. Longman, 1990)Participles as Verbs and Adjectives Participles occupy an  intermediate position between verbs and adjectives. Like verbs of a clause, participles may function as predicates and take complements and adjuncts, in fact they refer to situations.  Since they are atemporal, they can, like adjectives, also function as modifiers of nouns.(Gà ¼nter Radden and Renà © Dirven, Cognitive English Grammar. John Benjamins, 2007) Participles as Sentence Openers When the  participle is a single word- the verb with no complements or modifiersit usually occupies the adjective slot in preheadword position: Our snoring visitor kept the household awake.The barking dog next door drives us crazy. . . . While the single-word participle generally fills the preheadword adjective slot, it too can sometimes open the sentence- and with considerable drama: Exasperated, she made the decision to leave immediately.Outraged, the entire committee resigned. Youll notice that both of these openers are past participles, rather than the -ing present participle form; they are, in fact, the passive voice. -(Martha Kolln, Rhetorical Grammar. Pearson, 2007) Pronunciation: PAR-ti-sip-ul

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