Past Participle


What is the Past Participle?

The past participle is the verb form that usually ends with "-ed".

How to Form the Past Participle - Regular Verbs

1) Basic Rule

verb + -ed

Examples: look - looked    walk - walked

2) Verbs with the ending consonant (b,c,d,f...z) + y

Replace the "y" with "ie".

Examples: cry - cried    fancy - fancied

3) Verbs ending with a silent "e"

Simply add a "d" at the end.

Examples: close - closed    decorate - decorated

4) Verbs ending with a stressed vowel (a,e,i,o,u) + consonant (b,c,d,f,...z)

Double up the last consonant and add "-ed" at the end.

Examples: beg - begged    stir - stirred

Watch Out! - 1

In British English, there is an exception to this rule: when a verb ends with an unstressed vowel + l, the l is not doubled up.

Examples: travel - traveled

Watch Out! - 2

If the last vowel is not stressed, the final consonant is not doubled up.

Examples: alter - altered    develop - developed

Watch Out! - 3

In one-syllable verbs whose ending consists of 2 vowels + consonant, the final consonant is never doubled up.

Examples: cheat - cheated    float - floated

How to Form the Past Participle of Irregular Verbs

No rules, just learning by heart. Look at the table in the following article: "Irregular English Verbs"

How to Use the Past Participle

1) As an Adjective

All the rooms were decorated for Christmas.
The unfamiliar flavor of the salted plums shocked her.

2) As Part of the Present Perfect Simple

Example: I have never walked out of the theater halfway through the play before.

3) As Part of the Past Perfect Simple

Example: When Julia arrived we had already cleaned the house and prepared the roast.

4) As Part of the Passive Voice


The house was cleaned and the roast prepared.
The graduation ceremony is usually organized by the teachers.

5) As Part of the Conditional Perfect

Example: I would have made a cake if you had bought butter and eggs.

Final Exercise

With our vocabulary trainer you can now memorize all verb forms. Start with the past participle!

Also practice identifying the past participle in daily life. Test your progress! Find all 6 past participles in the following paragraph! (Watch out - it contains some irregular verbs!)

I was excited to finally learn English properly. I had never traveled so far away on my own before I came to Calgary, Canada. I had shown an interest in learning English from a young age, and my mother had always told me if I really wanted to get good I had to go abroad. For the first few days I was still jet-lagged and confused, but then I adjusted to Canadian time and began to joyfully immerse myself in my new English speaking environment.