The Present Participle in English


How to Form the Present Participle

The Present Participle is also called "-ing Form". Most of the time, you can form it simply by adding "-ing" to the verb.
Infinitive without "to" + ing

Examples: to go -> going     to play -> playing     to know -> knowing     to sing -> singing


For some verbs, there are certain exceptions.

1. Verbs with the following endings:

a) vowel + consonant + e
b) vowel + th + e

In this case, the "e" at the end of the verb is cut before the -ing.

to bake -> baking     to celebrate -> celebrating     to tame -> taming
to shine -> shining     to breathe -> breathing     to loathe -> loathing

2. Verbs with the ending "ie"

The ending "ie" has to be replaced with "y" before the "-ing".


to die -> dying     to lie -> lying     to tie -> tying

3. One-syllable verbs with the ending vowel + consonant (except W,X,Y)

The last consonant has to be doubled up.


to get -> getting     to swim -> swimming     to hop -> hopping
to rub -> rubbing     to fit -> fitting     to run -> running

W,X, and Y are the exception to this rule.


to glow -> glowing     to know -> knowing     to relax -> relaxing

4. Two-syllable verbs ending with a stressed vowel + consonant

The consonant is doubled up.


to begin -> beginning     to admit -> admitting     to regret -> regretting

5. Some verbs with the ending "c"

Often, a "k" is inserted after the "c" before the "-ing".


to mimic -> mimicking     to picnic -> picnicking

How to Use the Present Participle

The Present Participle is used in the following cases.

1) Continuous Actions

The Present Participle is used in the continuous or progressive tenses, which express continuous actions.


Lara is baking blueberry muffins.
The children were playing in the garden when they heard a loud noise.

1) As a Noun

The Present Participle can also be used as a noun derived from a verb (gerund). The meaning is still the same, but the verb now takes the form of a noun.


After work running is one of my favorite activities.
Her cooking was amazing, so Tom gained 2 pounds in a week.

3) As an Adjective

The Present Participle can also be used as an adjective to describe a noun.


Sheila is a hardworking student.
Anna is a caring wife.

4) In combination with certain expressions of perception (see, hear), movement/ continuation (go, stop, keep) or position (sit, stand)


spend time ... -ing
keep.... -ing
go ... -ing
stop ....-ing
prefer ... -ing

Matthew spends a lot of time playing soccer.
When my cat is sad, it stops eating.
Let's go swimming at Kehena tomorrow!
I prefer reading articles over going to school.
Keep studying English and you will be fluent soon.