Present Participle: Adjectives and Nouns

Participe présent comme adjectif et nom

French present participle
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The French present participle may be used as an adjective, noun, verb, or gerund.

Present participle = adjective

When used as an adjective, the present participle follows the same gender and number agreement rules as other adjectives, and typically follows the noun.

Par exemple…

un cadeau surprenant   a surprising gift
un travail ennuyant   boring job
une idée fascinante   fascinating idea
des paquets pesants   weighty packages
des mariées rougissantes   blushing brides

Present participle = noun

Likewise, when used as a noun, the present participle follows the same gender and number agreement rules as other nouns.

Par exemple…

un contenant des contenants   container(s)
un identifiant des identifiants   user name(s)
un étudiant
des étudiants
une étudiante
des étudiantes
  student
students
un sympathisant
des sympathisants
une sympathisante
des sympathisantes
  sympathizer
sympathizers

Present Participle Pairs

Many verbs whose present participles are commonly used as nouns and/or adjectives have two different spellings: the one conjugated the normal way serves as the verb or gerund, while a second form is required when it’s used as a noun or adjective.

1) When present participles end in –guant, the noun/adjective form loses the u.

Par exemple…

verbpresent participle adjective/noun
déléguerdéléguantdélégant
extravaguerextravaguantextravagant
fatiguerfatiguantfatigant
intriguerintriguantintrigant
naviguernaviguantnavigant

2) For present participles that end in –quant, the noun/adjective form usually ends in –cant.

Par exemple…

verbpresent participle adjective/noun
communiquercommuniquantcommunicant
convaincreconvainquantconvaincant
fabriquerfabriquantfabricant
provoquerprovoquantprovocant
suffoquersuffoquantsuffocant

3) A number of present participles commonly used as nouns or adjectives end in –ent instead of –ant:

Par exemple…

verbpresent participle adjective/noun
adhéreradhérantadhérent
convergerconvergeantconvergent
excellerexcellantexcellent
négligernégligeantnégligent
urgerurgeanturgent
violerviolantviolent

4) The verb savoir is just the opposite: it has an irregular present participle when it’s used as a verb or gerund, but follows the normal conjugation rules when it’s used as a noun or adjective.

verbpresent participle adjective/noun
savoirsachantsavant
   
Quiz: Present participles

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French present participle
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