Participles and Perfect Verb Tenses
Some comments I received on the post about the forms of the irregular verb “drink” indicate that not everyone is clear as to how participles are used to form verb tenses that use the helping verbs “has, have” and “had.” Here’s a review.
Participles are verb forms, but they are incomplete. In order to function as “real” verbs, they must be used with helping verbs.
English has two participles: the present participle and the past participle.
The present participle always ends in -ing: jumping, skiing, writing, drinking, sighing, etc.
The past participle usually ends in -ed, as in called, climbed, interrogated, and studied. Many verbs, however, have past participles that do not end in -ed.
Some, for example, end in -en:
Some end in -t:
Many irregular verbs, like drink, have distinctive past participle forms:
Participles have numerous uses, but right now I’m just looking at how they are used to form the following verb tenses:
present perfect progressive
past perfect progressive
The present perfect tense is used to describe
a) an action that happened at an indefinite time in the past
b) an action that that began in the past and continues in the present
The helping verbs used with the past participle to form the present perfect tense are has and have:
The House of Windsor has ruled England since 1917.
My sister has tried every kind of shampoo on the market.
We have written to them numerous times without receiving an answer.
Past Perfect Tense
The past perfect tense is used to describe an action that took place in the past before another past action. The helping verb used with the past participle to form the past perfect is had:
Before reinforcements arrived, the enemy had captured most of the men.
Present Perfect Progressive
The present perfect progressive describes an action that began in the past, continues in the present, and may continue into the future. The present participle is used with the helping verbs has been and have been to form the present perfect progressive:
I have been thinking about going to France one more time.
Charlie has been trying to make the team for two years now.
We have been sitting in the park for hours.
The teachers have been meeting after school to plan the new schedules.
Past Perfect Progressive
The past perfect progressive describes a past, ongoing action that was completed before some other past action. The present participle is used with the helping verbs had been to form the past perfect progressive:
When the accident occurred, she had been talking on her cell phone.
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