The key difference between tense and participle is their function. Tense shows the time an action takes place – past, present, or future, whereas participle does not show the time frame of action.
Both tenses and participles are important grammar rules that are frequently used in sentence formation. They are used to indicate the time that various incidents happened and to modify verbs, verb phrases, nouns, and noun phrases.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Tense
3. What is Participle
4. Tense vs Participle in Tabular Form
5. Summary – Tense vs Participle
What is Tense?
Tense is a verb-based system that is used to show the time, continuation, or completeness of an action relating to the time of speaking. There are two sections in tenses named time and aspect.
Time: There are three times in grammar: past, present, and future.
Aspect: There are two main aspects: progressive (indicates uncompleted action) and perfective (indicates completed action).
Tenses are made up of both time and aspect. There are 12 tenses in the English language:
- Present simple tense
- Present continuous tense
- Present perfect tense
- Present perfect continuous tense
- Past simple tense
- Past continuous tense
- Past perfect tense
- Past perfect continuous tense
- Future simple tense
- Future continuous tense
- Future perfect tense
- Future perfect continuous tense
What is a Participle?
A participle is a word taken from a verb that is used for various purposes. Since they are based on verbs, they are also known as verbals. They are used as adjectives or to denote actions. At the same time, they modify nouns or adjectives. Participles usually end with -ing or -ed. Though they look very similar to the verbs they originate from, they are considered different parts of speech from verbs. Moreover, participles are used to express complex actions and do things that verbs cannot.
Types of Participles
- Present participle ( end in –ing)
- Past participle (end in –en, -ed, -d, -t, -n, -ne)
- Perfect participle (combination of present participle and past participle)
The formation of the present participle is adding –ing to the root verb. For example, watch → watching
The formation of past participle varies for regular verbs and irregular verbs. For regular verbs, the past participle is formed by adding –ed to the root verb; however, the formation of irregular verbs differs from verb to verb. For example,
- Regular: dance-danced
- Irregular: leave-left, come –came, eat-eaten
These are used to indicate that one action happened before the other. Here, ‘having’ is combined with a past participle. For example,
“Having finished lunch, David ran to the playground.”
Examples of Participles
She only had two burnt toasts on the table.
We have tried it for many years.
I was wearing a torn shirt.
Having seen the police outside, the child ran to the house.
The factory looked abandoned.
What is the Difference Between Tense and Participle?
Tense is a verb-based system that is used to show the time, continuation, or completeness of an action relating to the time of speaking, whereas participle is a word taken from a verb that is as a noun, adjective, or part of a compound tense. The key difference between tense and participle is that tense shows the time an action takes place, i.e., past, present, or future, while participle does not show the time frame of action. There are 12 tenses and 3 participles in English grammar.
Summary – Tense vs Participle
Tense is a verb-based system that is used to show the time, continuation, or completeness of an action relating to the time of speaking. There are twelve tenses in the English language. A participle, on the other hand, is a word taken from a verb that acts as a noun, adjective, or part of a compound tense. The key difference between tense and participle is their function.
1. “Tense (Grammar).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Mar. 2022.
2. “Participles.” Purdue Writing Lab.
1. “4 tenses” By Kicior99 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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