Verbs, moods and tenses: Chapter 2


A participle is a word formed from a verb which can be used as an adjective.
The two types of participles are the present participle (ending ing) and the past participle (usually ending -ed, -d, -t, -en, or -n).

Present Participles

Present participles end in -ing. Examples:

Sinking ship

loving  mother

challenging problem

Some more examples of present participles :

laughing man is stronger than a suffering man. (Gustave Flaubert, 1821-1880)

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. (Mark Twain, 1835-1910)

Present participles are not used just as adjectives. They are also used to form verb tenses in conjunction with helping verbs.

Past Participles

Past participles have various endings, usually -ed, -d, -t, -en, or -n.


broken glass

painted doors

destroyed bridge

Some more examples of past participles

swollen eye is God's way of telling you to improve your interpersonal skills.

Do not waste time staring at a closed door.

I like children...if they're properly cooked. (W.C. Fields)

(Remember, an adjective can also appear after the noun it is modifying. Predicative adjectives.)

Past participles are also used to form verb tenses.


The difference between gerunds and present participles(b):

A present participle is most commonly used as part of the continuous form of a verb, after verbs of perception, after verbs of movement, or as an adjective while the gerunds always act as nouns, although they look like verbs. They can be used in the same way as nouns.

Can you spot the gerunds?

He is painting.

Eating people is wrong.

Driving too fast is dangerous.

She was waiting.

Walking is good for you.

They will be coming.

We would be staying.

Sally lay listening to the bugs in the grass.

Your knitting is beautiful.

I would have been leaving

Can you sneeze without opening your mouth?

He walks reading his newspaper.

She is good at painting.

She sat looking at the sea.

I was the fastest at climbing ropes.

I cook listening to the radio.


How to Identify the Gerund?

Tactic #1

Most gerunds/gerund phrases can be substituted for by the word “it”. However, the substitution is intended only for the gerund itself and NOT any of the modifiers or objects of their verbal function

Consider the following sentence-

Eating a rabbit is cruel.

How many verbs do you see?

“Eating” which might be a gerund and “is” which can, technically, be either a main verb or an Auxiliary verb .

Now split the sentence into two parts

(Eating a rabbit) is cruel.

So , who or what is cruel?

Eating a rabbit


The phrase “Eating a rabbit” is the subject

When we acknowledge that phrase as the subject and a subject can be only a noun or a pronoun

We can easily replace “Eating a live rabbit” with “it”

With minimum practice it’s easy to master this technique.

Eating [a live rabbit out of a hat] is insane


Tactic #2


Another way to test a Gerund is the replace the “ing” word with the infinitive, if the sentence still makes sense the “ing” word is a gerund. Examples:

Running daily is good for us..

To run daily is good for us.

Eating meat daily is not healthy.

To eat meat daily is not healthy

However, the first tactic is more accurate. Because-

Transitive /Intransitive. Which is which?
She was crying all day long

She was crying buckets and nobody could stop her crying

We showed her the photo album.

Huffing and puffing, we arrived at the classroom door with only seven seconds to spare

The doctor advised me to exercise regularly.

It was raining at that time.

Around fresh ground chilies, Simar sneezes with violence.

She laughed at the joke.

Rosa always eats before leaving for school.

Amit usually eats ,potatoes and cottage cheese for breakfast

She gave a cookie to the child.

In the movie Danush runs over hills, through fields, across the river

In his next movie Dhanush will run a crime syndicate

They slept in the street.

I ate the cherries.

My father doesn't like to drink coffee.

He always keeps his money in a wallet.

Stative /Action verbs. Right or wrong?

Are they having a good time.                                                             The food tastes good.

They are looking at the photo album.                                              He's been working since this morning.

They are designing a robot.                                                               The water is tasting good in this heat.

She is liking him more with each passing day                                 I am thinking you are a nice person.

You are looking great.                                                                         I am thinking that scotch is  great

He's having a huge horse.                                                                  She’s having a bad day

Is the verb in bold  an auxiliary or a full verb?

  1. am
  2. They willhelp you.
  3. We do not know his address.
  4. My friend Amy does a lot of sports.
  5. How much is it?
  6. amreading an interesting book at the moment.
  7. Willyou be there?
  8. She has never been to London.
  9. Does he speak English?
  10. They have a cat and a dog.

Fill in the blanks with the correct modals

Choose the right modal verb

There are plenty of tomatoes in the fridge. You _____ buy any.

It's a hospital. You ______smoke.

He had been working for more than 11 hours. He _______ be tired after such hard work. He _____ prefer to get some rest.

I _________ speak Arabic fluently when I was a child and we lived in Morocco. But after we moved back to Canada, I had very little exposure to the language and forgot almost everything I knew as a child. Now, I _________just say a few things in the language.

The teacher said we_______ read this book for our own pleasure as it is optional. But we ________ read it if we don't want to.

___________you stand on your head for more than a minute? No, I ________

If you want to learn to speak English fluently, you ______ to work hard.

Take an umbrella. It ______ rain later.

You  ________ leave small objects lying around . Such objects _____ be swallowed by children.

People _________ walk on grass.

Drivers ________stop when the traffic lights are red.

_______ I ask a question? Yes, of course.

You ________  take your umbrella. It’s is not raining.

________ you speak Italian? No, I ______.

The Infinitive

The infinitive is, simply put, the word “to” and the base form of any verb together. When we talk about “the infinitive” we refer usually to the present infinitive, the commonest form in use.


To walk

To talk

To run

To sit

To kneel

To think

To act

While there is much to learn about how many types of infinitives exist and how the infinitive form is used , as students who are preparing for competitive exams there’s only one thing you need to keep in mind about the use of infinitives and that is –

Try to not split the infinitive.

And just in case you have missed the point completely, here’s how the given sentence should be phrased correctly

Try not to split the infinitive.

Typically, a split infinitive is created by insertion of an adverbial phrase or an adverb between the word “to” and the following verb, for example-

He told me to casually walk up and say “hello” to her

He told me to walk up to her casually and say “hello”

Let’s take a look at another example-

The new machines are likely to allow the workers to more quickly and effectively meet the production guidelines.

It’s simply more awkward than to say

The new machines are likely to allow the workers to meet the production guidelines more quickly and effectively.

Note: Split infinitives are not always wrong but for those who take the CAT and other B-school exams , the split infinitive is considered an error.

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