The Forms of the Past Participle

To understand the Past Participle, we shall look at its forms, on this page and its functions, and meaning in the next.

The Past Participle form is one of the principal parts of the verb.

The Past Participle of Regular Verbs

Verbs which are called Regular Verbs have a regular form of this verbal. The Past Participle of Regular Verbs are formed by adding the suffix -ed, as shown in the table below.

Please note that some slight adjustment can come before the adding of the suffix.

For the verbs escape and chase, the last e is dropped, and for the verb stop the last letter is doubled before the suffix '-ed' is added.

Basic Form of Verb Past Participle Form
play played
jump jumped
walk walked
talk talked
escape escaped
chase chased
stop stopped

The Past Participle of Irregular Verbs

These are formed irregularly. What I mean is that we cannot in all cases make the same one type of change to the basic verb form and get the past participle form.

Look at this table:

Basic Form of Verb Past Participle Form
sit sat
sing sung
eat eaten
write written
see seen
sleep slept
put put

What do you see in this last table?

There is no ONE way of forming the past participle.

The Different Ways of Forming the Past Participle
of Irregular Verbs

There is no single rule that can be applied to all.

From the table above we can draw out the different ways the past participle is formed from the basic form of an irregular verb.

  1. for the verbs sit and sing, an internal vowel change takes place.

  2. For the verbs eat, write, and see, the suffix -en is added.

    Note that some pre-adjustment is made before adding the suffix -en. For the verb see, one e is dropped before adding the suffix; for the verb write, an e is dropped and the t is doubled.

  3. for the verb sleep, the internal vowel is changed and then the suffix t is added.

  4. for the verb put, no change is made.

Since, there is no one way of forming the past participle of irregular verbs, we memorize them along with the base form and the past tense form.

Like this:

  • "sing, sang, sung"
  • "eat, ate, eaten"
  • "drink, drank, drunk"
  • "put, put, put"
  • "bind, bound, bound"

Of course, we need to do this only for the irregular verbs.

For the regular verbs, as I have explained above, we need only add -ed to the basic form; so there is no need to memorize those.

For the functions (syntax) and meaning (semantics) of the Past Participle, continue to page 2.

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For Further Reading and Study...

Related Pages

The Study of Verbals



The Study of Participles

What is a Participle?

Present Participle

Past Participle - Forms

Past Participle - Functions

For the Study of Verbs