Grammar-QuizzesVerb PhrasesVerb Complements › Participial Modfiers 2

Participle Modifiers 2 -ed / -ing

Express a completed state vs. an ongoing process

 

 

 

Completed -ed / Ongoing -ing

COMPLETED STATE

Verbs expressing a process may take past participle forms which can modify nouns and express completed states.  These modifiers have some adjective and some verb-like properties.

COMPLETED

roasted chicken 
This is a roasted chicken — done!

Grown children often move out of the house.

Broken dishes were all over the floor.

Fallen trees littered the forest floor.

Fried potatoes would taste good right now.

He was a well-loved child  (beloved)

ONGOING QUALITY OR STATE

Verbs expressing a process may also take present participle forms, which can modify nouns and express states in progress (ongoing). These modifiers also have adjective-like and verb-like properties.

ONGOING

roasting checken 
This is  a  roasting chicken — still cooking!

Growing children need a lot of food.

Breaking dishes startled the diners. (the sound)

Falling trees are a danger to hikers.

Frying potatoes smell delicious.

He is a loving husband.

 

litter (N) – scatter (throw, leave, toss) objects, debris, rubbish, on the ground

startle (V) – suddenly shock in surprise or alarm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participle Modifier List (adjectival passives)

Completed vs. Ongoing

turning pages
 

 

Participle Modifier List

COMPLETED

Past participle modifiers are pre-position (placed before the word it modifies) and are derived from reduced clauses. They have the properties of Adjectives. See note¹.

aged (wine, cheese)

fried  (potatoes)

broken (glass)

exploded  (fireworks)

boiled  (milk)

frozen  (water)

brewed  (coffee)

grown  (children)

changed  (man)

loved  (person)

closed  (subject)

melted  (ice)

cooked (food)

occupied (region)

crossed  (lines)

rotten   (fruit)

cut    (flowers)

turned  (page)

dripped  (wax)

wound  (watch)

ONGOING

Present participle modifiers are also pre-position and are derived from reduced clauses. They do not share all the properties of Adjectives.                                     .        

aging    (parents)

frying   (potatoes)

breaking    (glass)

exploding  (fireworks)

boiling  (milk)

freezing  (water)

brewing  (coffee)

growing  (children)

changing  (times)

loving (person)

closing  (argument)

melting  (ice)

cooking  (food)

occupying (force)

crossing  (lines)

rotting  (fruit)

cutting  (remark)

turning (page)

dripping  (wax)

winding (road)

 

¹ Note: Adjective properties include (1) can modify a noun (2) can complement a be verb, a static verb (e.g., become, seem, appear, act, look); (3) can be modified by a degree adverb (e.g., very, so, completely, partly). 

Also see Irreg Verb Forms 1 and Irreg Verb Forms 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Participle Modifier

Is it a verb or an adjective?

 

 

 

Testing for properties of an adjective

PAST PARTICIPLE -ED

Usually, we can determine if a word is an adjective by testing its adjective properties. Can it (1) modify a noun, (2) follow a static verb (look, seem, become, appear, taste, act) (3) accept a degree adverb (very or too).

COMPLETED
CAN IT MODIFY A NOUN? YES

roasted chicken 
This is a roasted chicken. 

This is a delicious chicken. (a true adj.)

The chicken is roasted. (modifier)

The chicken is roasted. (passive verb)

CAN IT FOLLOW A STATIC VERBYES

YES

~The chicken appears roastedlooks, seems, tastes   

The chicken appears delicious(a true adj.)

Fix: The chicken appears to be roasted. (method or completeness)

CAN IT BE MODIFIED WITH VERY OR TOO?  NO

NO*The chicken was very roastedvery or too 

The chicken was very delicious(a true adj.)

Fix: The chicken was over-done, over-cooked. (degree of cooking)

CONCLUSION

This -ed group shares one property (use in a clause) with adjectives.  However, we cannot say these modifiers are truly "adjectives". They fall somewhere in between verb and adjective word categories.  Words in this group (see words listed above) are problematic, half-half.

PRESENT PARTICIPLE -ING

With this group of verbs, both of the participle forms accept other be-like verbs, but do not accept the degree adverb very. These participles seem to fall somewhere in the middle of being verbs and adjectives.        

ONGOING
CAN IT MODIFY A NOUN?  YES

roasting chicken 
This is a roasting chicken.

This is a delicious chicken. (a true adj.)

The chicken is roasting. (modifier)

The chicken is roasting. (progressive verb)

CAN IT FOLLOW A STATIC VERBNO

NO

*The chicken appears roasting. looks, seems, tastes  [no]

The chicken appears delicious(a true adj.)

Fix: The chicken appears to be roasting. (ogoing method of cooking)

CAN IT BE MODIFIED WITH VERY OR TOO?  NO

NO*The chicken was very roastingvery or too   [no]

The chicken was very delicious. (a true adj.)

Fix: The chicken was cooking fast(?)  (rate of cooking)

CONCLUSION

This -ing group shares one property (use in a clause) with adjectives.  However, we cannot say these modifiers are truly "adjectives". They fall somewhere in between verb and adjective word categories.  Words in this group (see words listed above) are problematic.

 

*not used / ~ could be used in a special context

Test for adjective properties includes (1) can it modify a noun (2) can it complement a be verb, a static verb (e.g., become, seem, appear, act, look); (3) can it be modified by a degree adverb (e.g., very, so, completely, partly).  (Huddleston 533, 541)

property (N) – function or use in a clause; we group words together into a word category (Noun, Verb, Adjective, Adverb, Preposition) depending on how similarly they function, are used in a clause.  See Function vs. Category  "How does Function differ from Category?

¹adjectival passive (Huddleston 16 §10.1.3)  

Also see Gerund or Participle?   Have / Be Finished

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participle Modifiers

State or Natural Quality

bird watching / spotting
 

 

Completed vs. Natural Quality States

-ED — COMPLETED STATES

Past participle modifiers ending in -ed or -en may indicate the state of a process or activity completed by someone. (These are verb-like modifiers. Note that we cannot use very before these participle modifiers, which is true for adjectives.)

COMPLETED STATE

The recently spotted owl was making a nest.  (an owl seen or located by someone usually with binoculars)

The black-eyed boxer walked into the ring. (an eye that was harmed by another fighter)

We made the pie with pitted cherries. (pits that were removed by us)

The freshly-washed dog sat in the sun. (a dog that was washed by someone)

Would you like some frozen yogurt. (yogurt that was frozen by someone)

She wore a shirt with rolled-up sleeves. (sleeves that were rolled up by someone)
 

-ED — NATURAL QUALITY OR STATE

Past participle modifiers may indicate the natural quality or state of the noun (color, pattern, condition, etc.) 

NATURAL STATE

We saw a very spotted owl making a nest. (an owl with natural coloring including spots)

The black-eyed terrier walked into the ring. (a dog with naturally black eyes)

We made the sculpture from pitted wood. (wood with natural scars)

The short-haired dog sat in the sun. (a dog with naturally short hair)

Would you like to visit the frozen tundra? (a Antarctic region that is permanently frozen)

She wore a long-sleeved shirt. (a shirt with long-sleeves)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participial Modifiers

Ongoing Process  or Function

sleeping dog
 

 

Ongoing Process vs. Function

-ING – ONGOING PROCESS OR STATE

Present participle modifiers ending in -ing may indicate something still undergoing a process or activity.  These are verb-like modifiers. Note that we cannot use very before these participle modifiers, which is true for adjectives.) 

ONGOING QUALITY OR STATE

Don't awaken the sleeping dogs. (dogs that are sleeping)

We have a talking parrot (a parrot that talks.)

Look! It's a shooting star.  ( a star that is shooting across the sky)

It's a slow-moving train.  (a train that is moving slowly)

A hiking party was seen to the north of the volcano. (a group that is hiking)

The waiting parents were very worried. (parents that are waiting) 

-ING – FUNCTION

Present participle modifiers ending in -ing may indicate the function of something.   These modifiers are noun-like.  [activity + noun]  Also see Noun Modifiers.

FUNCTION

The pups are in their sleeping bag. (a bag for sleeping)

We have a talking machine. (a device for talking, a text reader)

He practices his rifle skills at the shooting range. (an area for target practice)

It's a moving van. (a truck for transporting households)

Mr. Hanson was wearing his hiking shoes (shoes that are for trekking.)

The doctor's waiting room was brightly decorated. (a room for waiting)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participle Modifier Positioning

Before versus after the noun

 

 

Existing state versus resulting state

BEFORE NOUN—EXISTING  STATE

A modifier placed before the noun is the more common position. The positioning of the modifier affects the meaning of the clause.  A participle modifier placed before the noun describes the noun in its existing state.

He pushed the closed door

He likes his cleaned car.

George Washington implored Congress to end its squabbling. There was no future for a divided country.

It is a divided country.

*Across the country thousands of protesters marched in the street; however, the President was an unmoved man.

 

Albert Einstein published over 300 scientific papers. His was an unmatched mind.

 

AFTER NOUN—RESULTING  STATE

Sometimes the modifier may be placed after the noun if the verb or context permits it. A modifier placed after the noun describes the resulting state of the action expressed by the verb or by the context.

He pushed the door closed"so that it is" 

He likes his car cleaned.

George Washington implored Congress to end its squabbling. There was no future for a country divided¹.

Squabbling made² the country divided.

Across the country thousands of protesters marched in the street; however, the President was a man unmoved.

The President was unmoved by the protests.

Albert Einstein published over 300 scientific papers. His was a mind unmatched.

 

 

*not used / ~awkward usage

¹The word "divided" can be explained as: (1) a passive verb in a reduced relative clause "that was being divided by squabbling", or (2) a modifier expressing a resulting state. "Squabbling was making the country divided." ("so that it [is/was/will be] divided")

²get / make – verbs get and make are used for causing something to happen. See Have / Get / Make.

Also see Resultative Adjectives.

 

 

 

 

Commonly Confused

Confusion and Solution

 

 

 

Commonly Confused  (by native speakers) 

CONFUSION

While olives could be described as 'pitted olives' – a natural quality or state of having pits – more often they are just called 'olives'. The modifier is unnecessary. Does a naturally grown olive without a pit occur?

olives

Are these pitted olives? 

SOLUTION

Pitted olives are those which have had the pit removed by someone.  Because of the confusion, some speakers clarify the terms by saying "olives with pits" or "olives without pits".

pitted olives

Or are these pitted olives?

 

Also see Gerund or Participle?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Completed or in Process?

 

 

 

Choose the modifier for the situation.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button to the right.

 

1.
fireworks

           

2.
exploded fireworks

           

3.
potatoes

           

4.
frying

           

5.
biking in the snow

           

6.
icecream

           

7.
Road

           

8.
string wound in a ball   

           

9.
a tree is falling

           

10.
a tree has fallen

           

11.
faucet

           

12.
paint

           

13.
ice caps

           

14.
water

           

15.
breaking egg

           

16.