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A participle is a non-finite form of a verb, generally with adjectival external syntax and verbal internal syntax.


In English, one distinguishes the present participle writing in (i), the participle of the perfect tense written in (ii), and the passive participle written in (iii):

(i)    John is writing a book
(ii)   John has written a book
(iii)  This book was been written by John

These forms are mostly used as periphrasis forms for tense-aspect and voice periphrases.


In Germanic and Romance languages participles sometimes show agreement inflection, as shown in (iv) by the passive participle écrites:

(iv)   Cettes lettres ont été écrites par Marie
       Those letters[Pl,F] have been written[Pl,F] by Marie

See also



  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.

Other languages