Present Participle

The present participle form consists of the base form plus –ing. It has all sorts of uses, like a Swiss army knife or duct tape or hot sauce.

But unlike hot sauce, which we eat by the spoonful, the present participle can never stand alone as the only verb in a sentence.

 
 

Examples

" Dropping her marshmallow into the campfire, Kaitie listened to the end of Frank's ghost story in horror."

Here, the present participle dropping is used to show that Kaitie is not only terrified, but also doing two actions at once: she's dropping her marshmallow into the fire at the same time she's listening to Frank's scary story. S'mores: just like the mind, they're a terrible thing to waste.

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" While weightlifting, Theresa dreams about a future as Arnold Schwarzenegger's stunt double."

Do we even lift? (No. No, we don't.) In this example, the present participle weightlifting is an adjective describing Theresa's current state of being. Dreams is the verb of the sentence, and while we admire Theresa, we at Shmoop entertain the lesser but still noble dream of being able to get out of bed after binge-watching Gilmore Girls for sixteen hours.

" These buffalo chicken egg rolls are amazing!"

Whoa! Did you see that? In this sentence, the present participle amazing describes the egg rolls. If Shmoop had a microphone, we would totally drop it right now. And then we'd go gorge ourselves on egg rolls.