Past Participles

English Grammar Rules

Past participles are used for all perfect tense forms of a verb and in the passive voice in English.

For regular verbs, we normally add ED to form its past participle. Unfortunately for irregular verbs there are no rules and it is just a matter of practice.

The highlighted words below are examples of past participles:

1. Present perfect

  • She hasn't finished her assignment yet.
  • I still haven't found my keys.

2. Past perfect

  • Chris was ill because he had eaten too much chocolate.
  • She missed the bus because she hadn't set her alarm.

3. Future perfect

  • Jamie will have been in Australia for one year in April.
  • He will have gone by the time you arrive.

4. Conditional perfect

  • If his passport had not been stolen, Adam would have gone to Brazil.
  • I wouldn't have known if you hadn't told me.

5. Passive Voice

  • The west coast of The USA was struck by torrential rain last night.
  • The painting was stolen in the middle of the night.

Participles as adjectives

Past Participles can also be used like an adjective in front of a noun:

  • The stolen baby was found by the police unharmed.
  • Dean's broken arm was set in plaster by the doctor at the hospital.
  • Please bring all of the required documents for your interview tomorrow.

Next activity

A list of some of the more common irregular past participles can be found here:
Irregular Verbs - Past Tense and Past Participles.

Also see our article about the Pronunciation of ED.

Try our interactive game to practice Past Participles.

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Last Updated: 02 December 2014
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