GP Students Need To Use Past Participles Correctly – General Paper Pitfalls

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Pink Flowers, GP Help

Good grammatical construct is one of the pillars of a successful GP paper. Writing correctly also implies the right use of verbs in sentences. When it comes to verbs, some students get confused with the usage of past participles; a common complaint from teachers and examiners alike.

Why Is The Past Participle So Confusing For Students?

The answer to this question perhaps lies in the polymorphic use of the past participle itself. That is, the past participle can be used in several ways namely: nouns, part of a verb, adjectives and adverbs. As you have guessed, past participles have the ability of denoting a complete action.

But you should bear in mind that past participles cannot be used as the main verb of a sentence. And this is where most students fail to anticipate.

Errors At Glance

Consider the following sentence:
1) “The global warming has long been foresee as a known threat to earth.”
2) “This truth cannot be bore any longer.”

What are wrong with the above sentences?
Sentence 1: foresee should have been written as “foreseen”
Sentence 2: bore should have been written as “borne” or “born”

My Opinion On Why Those Mistakes Happen

As per my experience as a gp student and class orator (some 5 years ago) my conclusion as why students make those mistakes are:

1) Student are not aware of the transformation of certain verbs into other tenses like past tense and past participles. (In the case of the “bore” in sentence 2.)
Some verbs have uncommon patterns in the transformation from their present tense into past tense and past participle.


* bear -> bore -> borne (or born)
* see -> saw -> seen
* write -> wrote -> written

These ‘weird’ verbs are, I believe, not strongly grasped by students since ‘common’ verbs usually just take ‘ed’ or ‘d’ or just remain the same:

* describe -> described -> described
* arrive -> arrived -> arrived
* read -> read -> read

You have to learn and be aware of the different categories of verbs and their different tenses. I remember in my early primary school, we used to learn by heart large table of verbs in all their tenses and this has been a lot of help to me in my later language usage. If you have not been able to do it at that time, do it now!

2) Students are not concentrated enough when writing.
You have to care what you are writing because the examiners do not care to give marks for such foolishness. Examiners are here to give marks, make it easy for them and for yourself!

3) Students write in a haste, thus forcing errors.
This is a fact due to time restrictions. But this is not an excuse! It is your duty and home work to train your writing skills alongside with your writing speed. The examiner does not care if you write quickly or slowly, what they care is ‘what you are writing’ and allocate marks.

So as a general paper student, take a moment to think about what I have explained and help yourself gain good marks. If you have any suggestion or you don’t agree with my point of view, you are free to use the comment form below to express your opinion.

Valuable Feedback / Comment / Review From People Like You

  1. apil says:

    how can we present our content in proper way and can we give local example that is related to essay?

  2. fara says:

    It was very helpful for me. tq

  3. Jay says:

    Helpful notes. In point #2, is it correct to say that “Students are not concentrated enough when writing…”? Or should it be “students are not concentrating enough when writing…”?


  4. shivani says:


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