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German Participles as Adjectives

What is a Participle?

A participle is a form of a verb. ›We can construct two different participles from a verb: the present participle and the past participle.

The present participle signals that two things are happening at the same time and is always used as an adjective.

The past participle is used in perfect, past perfect, and passive. But it can also be used as an adjective.

Example:

Present Participle: „Der weinende Kind ist in der Küche.“

Past Participle: „Das gestohlene Auto ist hier.“

More detailed information about the two participles can be found in the lectures The Present Participle and The Past Participle.

Example:

Present Participle: „Der weinende Kind ist in der Küche.“

Past Participle: „Das gestohlene Auto ist hier.“

More detailed information about the two participles can be found in the lectures The Present Participle and The Past Participle.

Present Participle as an Adjective

The present participle signals that two things are happening at the same time.

  • „Das Kind lacht und spielt im Garten.“
  • „Das lachende Kind spielt im Garten.“

If the present participle is placed before a noun you have to decline it (Adjective Declension).

Examples:

  • „Die Hund steht vor der Tür und bellt.“
  • „Der bellende Hund steht vor der Tür.“
  • „Der Hund steht bellend vor der Tür.“
  • „Die Frau schreit und rennt aus dem Haus.“
  • „Die schreiende Frau rennt aus dem Haus.“
  • „Die Frau rennt schreiend aus dem Haus.“

Past Participle as an Adjective

The past participle signals that the noun has a cetain status/condition or that two actions didn‘t occur at the same time.

  • „Ich verkaufe das Auto.“ „Das Auto ist gebraucht.“ (Past participle used for the construction of the status passive)
  • „Ich verkaufe das gebrauchte Auto.“ (Past participle as adjective)

Example:

  • „Die Frau ist gebildet und Professorin.“
  • „Die gebildete Frau ist Professorin.“

= Before she became a professor, she received her education.

  • „Ich kaufe das Haus. Es ist neu gebaut.“
  • „Ich kaufe das neu gebaute Haus

= The house was renovated before I bought it.

Tip for Easy Understanding

Present Participle: Two things are happening simultaneously.

  • „Der herunterfallende Apfel ist grün.“
  • Der Apfel fällt herunter.“ „Der Apfel ist grün.“

Past Participle: Two things aren‘t happening simultaneously.

  • „Der heruntergefallene Apfel ist grün.“
  • Der Apfel ist heruntergefallen.“ „Er ist grün.“

Further Information


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