last changed in 2002
A participle is traditionally an adjective-like form of a verb. For example, take (1).
(1) Pat is keen on linguistics and studying it at UCL.
The word studying must be a verb, like the other forms of STUDYv, because only verbs take objects such as it; this is not possible after adjectives, as witness the need for a preposition on after keen (compare *She is keen linguistics). Nevertheless, studying is also similar to keen, to the extent that they can be coordinated. This is because studying is a participle.
There are two clear examples of participles in English: the active participle (also known as a `present participle'), already illustrated by studying, and the passive participle, illustrated by studied in (2). These differ in `voice', and together they contrast in `aspect' with infinitives and perfects.
(2) Linguistics is only studied by the brightest students.
This is an article from the Encyclopedia of Word Grammar and English grammar. If you refer to it, please give the url as "http://tinyurl.com/wg-encyc".