Participle As Modifier : Past, Present And 9 Facts You Should Know

The definition of participle and its function as a modifier is explained here. The past and present participles turning out to be modifiers are explained in a detailed way with examples for the better understanding of the readers.

What Is Participle Modifier

A verb that performs as a modifier to modify something is a participle. They provide more informations about the noun or pronouns found in a sentence. So participles are another form of an adjective or adverb.   

Eg:- The running athlete  had a crash with another participant

Here running modifies the noun athlete and so it is a participle ( verb modifying the noun just like an adjective. )

Even though it is similar to adjective it is slightly different. Participle is arising from a verb whereas adjective is a word. But both qualifies the noun or pronoun.

Eg:- The people hurried cleaning as it was time to close the shop.

Here hurried modifies the verb cleaning acting as an adverb. So this is also a participle.

Participle modifiers are also non-finite verb forms when it comes to take the role of adverbs. Just like an adverb, participle modifier can also describe a verb. Usually participle modifiers are used in adjectival roles.

Can Participles Modify Noun

Participles are modifiers in real. It expresses a state of being. As participles take up the job of an adjective, it can add on more descriptions on a noun or pronoun.

Eg:- The crying child kept the mother disturbed throughout her meeting.

Here crying is a verb that acts as an adjective and it modifies or describes the noun child.

Participles arise from verb forms. It can end in -ing making it a present participle. Past participle mostly ends in –ed, -en, -d, -t, -n or –ne.  

Present Participle Modifier

A verb ending in –ing is a present participle. If it modifies nouns or pronouns, like an adjective, it is a present participle modifier. The position of present participle in a sentence is mostly seen before the noun that it is describing.

Eg:- Priya got a dancing doll as her birthday gift.

Here the verb dancing ends with –ing and describes more about the noun the doll. So dancing  is a present participle modifier.

When a present participle qualifies a given noun or pronoun, the modifier comes before the noun. It usually does the same action of an adjective. Only its formation is different even though function is the same.

Present Participle Post Modifier

Anything that comes after the noun or phrase that it describes is known as a post modifier.

Eg:- The workers at the mines in wartime really had a hard time.

Here wartime is the modifier of mines. As it follows the word mines, it is a post modifier.

The present participle is placed after the noun or phrase that it describes.In such cases, the modifiers being present after nouns are post modifiers. In that case, present participles are functioning as post modifiers.

Eg:- The scene of birds flying are always a serene visual that soothes our minds.

Here flying is a present participle that modifies the noun birds. As flying follows the noun birds, it is a present participle post modifier.

Present Participle As Adverbial Modifier

A modifier that acts as an adverb is adverbial modifier.

Eg:-Breathing heavily the athletes completed their show.

Here heavily is an adverbial modifier as it acts as an adverb and qualifies the verb breathing.

The present participle shows an action or state that is almost the same as the action of the main verb qualifier. Thus it becomes a present participle enacting as an adverbial modifier. Both components show the same function.

Eg:-The soldiers fired , wounding the trespasssers from the rival country.

Here wounding is the present participle that adds description to the verb fired making it a present participle as adverbial modifier.

Present Participle Modifier Examples

  • The dog barking next door seemed to be ferocious.
  • The sun shining showed the extreme hotness of the day.
  • The man walking on the roadside felt to be tired.
  • The birds flying in the sky seemed to have a nice time.
  • The stars twinkling in the sky gave a cool atmosphere.
  • The cat wandering nearby the fish market was shoed away by the customers.
  • The bike riding candidates were in full vibe.
  • The chef cooking in the pantry was totally immersed in his work.
  • The child studying mathematics was too hardworking .
  • The baker baking the cake was famous for his cakes.

Past Participle Modifier

Past participle also adds on description on the noun. But usually there will an experiencer who is affected by feelings or emotions in this description. Most often, past participles end in –ed, -en, -d, -t, -n or –ne.

Eg:-The man taken to the ICU had recovered from his critical stage.

Here taken to the hospital describes the man. So taken ending with –en along with the phrase becomes the past participle modifier.

Past Participle As Post Modifier

A past participle is placed after a noun or pronoun that it qualifies. As it comes after the noun, it is a post modifier. So the word becomes a past participle functioning as post modifier.

Eg:-The dog who ran fast was selected for the finals.

Here who ran fast is a past participle phrase that acts as a post modifier as it follows the noun dog that it qualifies.

Past Participle As Adverbial Modifier

Past participles act as adjectives more than adverbs. When a past participle acts as an adverb to modify the verb it becomes past participle as adverbial modifier. Usually it is preceeded by as if or as though.

Eg:- Raj stood unmoved  as if  paralyzed hearing the news.

Here paralyzed modifies the verb stood and is also preceeded  by as if. So paralyzed is the past participle as adverbial modifier.

Use Of Present Participle Modifier

Present participle is formed from a verb to modify a noun or pronoun. It does the same action of that of an adjective. It can also be used in a similar function to that of an adverb playing the role of adverbial modifier.

Use Of Past Participle Modifier

Past participle modifier modifies the noun in a phrase. It gives more importance to describe the noun or pronoun. The words of  past participle usually ends in –ed, -en, -n.


Here the definition of participle modifiers was given in a detailed way with examples with detailed explanations. The two different participle modifiers, present and past are also given described along with examples. The similarity of the functions of participle modifiers and the adjective as well as adverbs  are also given with explanations.