Participles are verb forms that have several functions.
You already know that the present participle and the past participle forms of a verb are two of the five main verb forms. These forms of the verb are used when we need to form some of the different tenses of the verb.
Most often when people refer to participles, however, they are talking about a verbal(a verb acting as another part of speech). Participles are verbs that act as adjectives in the sentence. Remember that an adjective modifies a noun or pronoun.
Present participles end in "-ing". Past participles usually end in "-ed", but there are many irregular past participles that end in "-en".
Like gerunds and infinitives, participles can appear alone or can be part of a larger phrase.
There are many words that end in "-ing" or "-ed", so be careful to analyze the sentence to ensure that you have found a participle.
Examples of present participles or participle phrases in a sentence:
Can you help me fix the leaning column of blocks?
Arriving late, Mary sat in the back row.
Have you ever read The Giving Tree?
Speeding toward the finish line, Will was going to win the race.
The girl, dreaming of being a doctor, decided to take an extra science class.
Examples of past participles or participle phrases in a sentence:
The broken glass cut my foot.
Ben, exhausted after a long day, took a nap on the couch.
The red shirt worn by Kevin belongs to my brother.
The boat, moving toward the dock, carried soldiers returning from war.
The torn paper is my homework from yesterday.