The past participle is a real team player. Because its job is to create the perfect tenses and the passive voice, it can never be used as the only verb in a sentence.
You always have to pair the past participle with a helping verb, usually have, has, had, was, were, or is.
Here's where things get a little tricky.
First, let's check out a couple of charts that show how the past participle stacks up against the base form and the past tense of verbs. We love charts, almost as much as we love breakfast for dinner.
The past tense and the past participle of regular verbs are the same:
The past tense and the past participle of irregular verbs may be different. Here are three of many, many possible examples
We know what you're thinking. "Cool charts, Shmoop. But what do we need past participles for?"
The perfect tenses, that's what:
- Present perfect
- Past perfect
- Future perfect
In short, the perfect tenses indicate that an action has been completed; which type of perfect tense you use tells the reader when it was or will be completed, a.k.a. in the present, the past, the future.
The past participle is also used to create the passive voice. Basically, you use the passive voice when the subject of the sentence receives the action instead of performing it.