The present participle is also used as an adjective before a noun to describe the noun (walking shoes), as a noun (a grouping of selected plants) and in a nonfinite clause (Arriving too early at the railway station, he found a seat for a nap.) 

 

 

Present participle as adjective
A present participle can function as an adjective to modify a noun, and is known as a participial adjective. The participle usually comes before the noun that it modifies. The following examples show participial adjectives in bold:
 

Examples:

  • We had to run as fast as we could in the pouring rain.

    (The present participle pouring acts an adjective modifying the noun rain.)

  • I have spent one hour, maybe more, looking for a parking space.

  • Creatures from an alien planet were our leading topic of conversation.

  • His failing eyesight makes it hard for him to recognize his own daughter.

  • The crumbling monument to the former leader was pulled down. 

 

 

Present participle as adjective phrase
A participle acting as an adjective needn’t be a one-word adjective. It can come in the form of a participial phrase which is shown here in bold. The participial phrase acts as an adjective that modifies a noun or pronoun.

 

Examples:

  • Being the last trainit carried only one passenger and his dog. 

    (Being the last train is a participial phrase that acts as an adjective modifying the pronoun it.) 

  • Sam, arriving late, was told to apologize. 

    (Arriving late is a participial phrase acting as an adjective that modifies Sam.)

  • The shadowy figure disappearing into the darkness was thought to be a ghost.

    (Disappearing into the darkness is a participial phrase acting as an adjective that modifies the noun figure.) 

 

 

Present participle as noun
As stated, the present participle follows an auxiliary verb to form the continuous tense. If a participle is not following an auxiliary verb, it could be acting as a noun (called a gerund). Used as a noun, the present participle may be modified by an adjective. Present participles used as nouns are shown in bold in the following examples, while the adjectives are underlined.

 

Examples:

  • I heard terrified screaming for help in my dream.
  • The mother and daughter thoroughly enjoyed their three hours of duty-free shopping.
  • We could hear the distant howling of a wolf.
  • It was good timing to go to the cemetery to visit their parents’ graves at this time of the year.
  • There was much loud cheering from their supporters.