The present participle in English is active. It has the following uses:
* forming the progressive aspect: Jim was sleeping.
* modifying a noun: Let sleeping dogs lie.
* modifying a verb or sentence: Broadly speaking, the project was successful.
The present participle in English has the same form as the gerund, which however is a noun. Thus the word sleeping in Your job description does not include sleeping past noon is not a present participle.
The past participle has both active and passive uses:
* forming the perfect aspect: The chicken has eaten.
* forming the passive voice: The chicken was eaten.
* modifying a noun, active sense (certain intransitive verbs only): our fallen comrades
* modifying a noun, passive sense: the attached files
* modifying a verb or sentence, passive sense: Seen from this perspective, there is no easy solution.
As noun-modifiers, participles usually precede the noun (like adjectives), but in many cases they can or must follow it:
* Please bring all the documents required.
* The difficulties encountered were nearly insurmountable.
The full infinitive (or to-infinitive) is used in a great many different contexts:
* Outside of dictionary headwords, it is the most commonly used citation form of the English verb: "How do we conjugate the verb to go?"
* It can be used like a noun phrase, expressing its action or state in an abstract, general way. So, "To err is human"; "To know me is to love me". (However, a gerund is often preferred for this — "Being is doing" would be more natural than the abstract and philosophical sounding "To be is to do.
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