German Present Participles Used as Adjectives and Adverbs
Present Participles as Adjectives
Examples of present participles used as ADJECTIVES. Notice that a good English translation may often vary from the original literal German in these cases.
- Er hatte die Deutschen als anmaßende, stereotypische Blonde bezeichnet.
He had characterized the Germans as presumptuous, stereotypical blondes.
- Die damit verbundenen Beeinträchtigungen würden die erwünschte Erholung in Frage stellen.
The detrimental conditions connected with it would make the desired relaxation doubtful.
- Heike war eine Frau von atemberaubender Schönheit.
Heike was a woman of breathtaking beauty.
- Drohende Krankheiten müssen frühzeitig erkannt und behandelt werden.
Impending diseases must be recognized and treated early on.
- Der vorbeieilende Kellner sah uns nicht.
The waiter didn't see us as he hurried by.
(lit., The hurrying-by waiter didn't see us.)
Some German present participles have become standard adjectives with a meaning that may vary from the original verb's meaning. They should be learned as vocabulary. Such special present-participle adjectives may be used after sein and include: abstoßend (repulsive), abwesend (absent), anmaßend (presumptuous), anstrengend (exhausting, strenuous), auffallend (conspicuous), aufregend (exciting), bedeutend (significant), dringend (urgent), drückend (heavy, oppressive), entscheidend (crucial, decisive), glühend (glowing, burning), reizend (charming), rührend (touching), spannend (thrilling), überzeugend (convincing), umfassend (extensive), zwingend (cogent, compelling).
CAUTION! German present participles are almost never used like the common -ing verb forms in English. For instance, German has no present progressive tense, so avoid misguided attempts to use present participles in such horrible phrases as, ich bin gehend for ich gehe (I'm going).
Present Participles as Adverbs
Examples of present participles used as ADVERBS.
- Sie gingen lärmend ins Zimmer.
They went into the room making a lot of noise.
- Die alte Lokomotive fuhr laut pfeifend in den Bahnhof.
The old locomotive drove into the station whistling loudly.
- Sie sahen einander grinsend an.
They looked at each other, grinning.
Also see: Introduction
DEFINITIONS > Grammar Glossary
A grammar guide for all aspects of German grammar.
Our contents page for all aspects of German verbs.
What is an adjective, a preposition, or a participle? Answers in plain English.
Part 1 of a two-part article on adjective endings in German.
Lesson 5: Adjectives and Colors
Lesson 5 of German for Beginners is an introduction to adjectives.
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