Present participles can-cause confusion in the Structure section of the TOEFL test because a present participle can be either an adjective or a part of the verb. A present participle is the – ing form of the verb. It is part of the verb when it is preceded by some form of the verb be.
The train is arriving at the station now. (Arriving is VERB)
In this sentence, arriving is part of the verb because it is accompanied by is.
A present participle is an adjective when it is not accompanied by some form of the verb be.
The train arriving at the station now is an hour late. (Arriving is ADJECTIVE)
In this sentence, arriving is an adjective and not part of the verb because it is not accompanied by some form of be. The verb in this sentence is is.
The following example shows how a present participle can be confused with the verb in the Structure section of the TOEFL test.
The film ____ appearing at the local theater is my favorite.
In this example, if you look at only the first words of the sentence, it appears that film is the subject and appearing is part of the verb. If you think that appearing is part of the verb, you might choose answer (B), is, or answer (D), was, to complete the verb. However, these two answers are incorrect because appearing is not part of the verb. You should recognize that appearing is a participial adjective rather than a verb because there is another verb in the sentence, is. In this sentence, there is a complete subject, film, and a complete verb, is, so this sentence does not need another subject or verb. The best answer to this question is answer (A).
EXERCISE 3: Each of the following sentences contains one or more present participles. Underline the subjects once and the verbs twice. Circle the present participles, and label them as adjectives or verbs. Then indicate if the sentences are correct (C) or incorrect (I).
1.The crying baby needs to be picked up. (C)
2. The clothes are lying the floor should go into the washing machine. (I)
3. The waitress bringing the steaming soup to the waiting diners.
4. Most of the striking workers are walking the picket line.
5. For her birthday, the child is getting a talking doll.
6. The setting sun creating a rainbow of colors in the sky.
7. The ship is sailing to Mexico is leaving tonight.
8. The letters needing immediate answers are on the desk.
9. The boring class just ending a few minutes ago.
10. The fast-moving clouds are bringing freezing rain to the area.