Participial adjectives function like other adjectives that describe the nouns. They are adjectives that are formed from verbs and can be recognized by their endings that are either –ed or –ing. These are the same as the endings of the verb participles: present participle ends in –ing: He is preparing for his exam, and past participle ends in –ed: He had prepared for his exam. (The past participle ends in -ed because it is a regular verb. If it is an irregular verb, it will end in a different way.) Because of this, these adjectives with -ed or -ing endings are known as participial adjectives.


Present participle adjective: The amazing acrobatic display captivated the audience.

Past participle adjective: They stared at the magic performance in amazed disbelief.

The present participle adjective tells us about something or someone that causes a feeling: amazing.

The past participle adjective tells us how someone feels about something or someone else: amazed.




  • Their annoyed housemate told them to lower their voices. (Verb: annoy)
  • He has the annoying habit of picking his nose.
  • The decayed body of a cat attracted many flies. (Verb: decay)
  • The smell of decaying meat was nauseating.
  • She made frustrated attempts to look for the size she wanted. (Verb: frustrate)
  • It was a frustrating experience when none of them listened to what I said.
  • We could see the interested look on her face. (Verb: interest)
  • I must say it was a very interesting book.
  • The painted picture of a dinosaur won the first prize. (Verb: paint)
  • The painting work has been done to a professional standard.
  • The second paper is a written test. (Verb: write)
  • She was chosen for her writing skill.



  • The police are investigating the burnt cars.
  • A huge cloud of smoke rose from a burning oil tank.
  • His damaged health is caused by excessive smoking.
  • Many chemicals have a damaging effect on the environment.
  • The excited crowd waited for the actress to arrive.
  • It was an exciting match.
  • My frightened grandmother related about being chased by dogs.
  • Climbing that mountain was a frightening experience.


Modifying participial adjectives

We can modify participial adjectives to show their intensity. To modify these adjectives, we use adverbs such as completely, extremely, fiercely, less, more, most, rather, really, so, very, etc.



  • The police are investigating the completely burnt cars.
  • A huge cloud of smoke rose from a fiercely burning oil tank.
  • His seriously damaged health is caused by excessive smoking.
  • Many chemicals have a severely damaging effect on the environment. 
  • The very excited crowd waited for the actress to arrive.
  • It was a really exciting match.
  • My rather frightened grandmother related about being chased by dogs.
  • Climbing that mountain was an extremely frightening experience.



Most participial adjectives can be both attributive and predicative



  • It is a computerized system.
  • The system is computerized.
  • She is an intelligent little girl.
  • That little girl is intelligent.
  • This is an exciting new magazine.
  • This new magazine is exciting.
  • I could hear irritating snores coming from his bedroom.
  • I could hear snores that are irritating coming from his bedroom.