Lesson 20: English Present Participles
The Right “-ing”:
This lesson covers present and future participles in the Parasmaipada (Ātmanepada participles will be treated in Lesson 21). By “present participle,” the verbal adjective in “-ing” is meant:
- That running man sure is fast!
- Do you ever walk while reading something on your phone?
- क्षिप्र एव स धावन् नरः ।
(note: the predicate often comes before the subject in nominal sentences)
The Wrong “-ing”:
On the other hand, the English verbal noun ending in “-ing” is an entirely different formation in Sanskrit, so we need to set it aside at the outset. Which is to say, we’re not concerned here with constructions like:
- Flying is fun. (the verbal noun, “flying,” here is the subject)
- I loved your reading. (the noun, “reading,” here is the direct object)
- तव पठनं मे ऽतीवारोचत । lit., “Your reading was very appealing to me.”
The Future Participle
English does not have a true future participle (a single-word verbal adjective expressing future action). As Deshpande notes, probably the closest constructions for that sense would be our “going to x” or “about to x” phrases. For example, “John, (who was) going to go home / about to go home, said the following.” As with the present participle, the time of the future participle is relative to the time of the finite verb. So “going to go” here is in the future relative to the time of the action of “said” in the speaker’s past. In fact, the going activity may still have been in the speaker’s past.