A participle (glossing abbreviation PTCP) is a form of a verb that is used in a sentence to modify a noun, noun phrase, verb, or verb phrase, and plays a role similar to an adjective or adverb. It is one of the types of nonfinite verb forms. Its name comes from the Latin participium, a calque of Greek metochḗ "partaking" or "sharing"; it is so named because the Ancient Greek and Latin participles "share" some of the categories of the adjective or noun (gender, number, case) and some of those of the verb (tense and voice).
Like other parts of the verb, participles can be either active (e.g. breaking) or passive (e.g. broken). Participles are also often associated with certain verbal aspects or tenses. The two types of participle in English are traditionally called the present participle (forms such as writing, singing and raising) and the past participle (forms such as written, sung and raised).
Participles have various uses in a sentence. One use of a participle is simply as an adjective:
A broken window. A fallen tree. An interesting book.
Another use is in a phrase which serves as a shortened form of a relative clause, as in the following phrases:
A woman wearing a red hat. A window broken by the wind.
Here the first phrase is equivalent to "a woman who was wearing a red hat". Such participle phrases generally follow the noun they describe, just as relative clauses do.
Often a participle replaces an adverbial clause. For example:
With drawn sword, he came to the sleeping Lucretia.
In the above sentence, the participles can be interpreted as equivalent to an adverbial clause of time, namely "after he had drawn his sword", and "when she was sleeping".
A fourth use of participles in some languages is in combination with an auxiliary verb such as "has" or "is" to make a compound or periphrastic verb tense which in other languages can often be expressed by a single word:
He had drawn his sword (= Latin strinxerat). She was sleeping (= Latin dormiebat).
A verb phrase based on a participle is called a participle phrase or participial phrase (participial is an adjective derived from participle). For example, wearing a hat and broken by the wind are participial phrases based respectively on an English present participle and past participle. Since these phrases are equivalent to a clause, they may also be called a participle clause or participial clause. Participial clauses generally do not have an expressed grammatical subject; but occasionally a participial clause does include a subject, as in the English nominative absolute construction The king having died, ... .