17.7 - Participles

Participles are derived from verbs. In English there are two types, the present active participle ending in -ing, as in "Can you see the man (who is) talking to the postman?" and the past passive participle most frequently ending in -ed or -en, as in "I enjoyed the play (which was) performed by the RSC".

In Ukrainian there are, in theory, four types of participle (present active, past active, present passive and past passive), but it is only the last of these which is productive in contemporary Ukrainian. Nevertheless, you need to be familiar with the others, mainly as lexical items.

All participles in Ukrainian, though, decline like adjectives, as suggested by their name, дієприкметник, which can be translated as "verbal adjective". Once you know how the participle is derived from the verb, the rest is easy.

Present active participles

These end in -учий, -ючий and are the equivalent of the -ing ending in English. They are no longer productive, and should be learnt simply as vocabulary items:

працювати
to work
працюючий
who/which is working
працюючі
those who work, working people
пекти
to burn/scorch
пекучий
burning
пекуче сонце
a burning (scorching) sun
знати
to know
знаючий
knowing
знаюча людина
a knowledgeable person

There is a trend in contemporary Ukrainian to replace some active present participles with other forms as, for example, завідувач for завідуючий (supervisor, manager).

Past active participles

These end in -лий and are derived from perfective verbs which denote a process. There are relatively few of them, and they should be learnt simply as adjectives:

(по)зеленіти
to go green
позеленілий
having gone green
мідний знак, позеленілий від часу
a copper sign, green with age
(з)бліднути
to grow pale
зблідлий
having grown pale
зблідла осінь
pale autumn

The most appropriate rendering of these will depend on the context.

Present passive participles

These end in -мий, and only a small number are still in use, purely as adjectives:

відомий
known, well-known
всесвітньо відомі вчені
world famous scholars
знайомий
known, familiar
знайома історія
a familiar story
рухомий
movable
нерухоме майно
real estate (immovable property)
питомий
specific, characteristic

native
питома вага
specific gravity

питоме і чуже
native vs foreign
видимий
visible
видимий рух сонця
the visible movement of the sun

Past passive participles

These are the most extensive group of participles. They are formed only from transitive verbs (those requiring an object), and end in -ний. They are easy to understand once you have identified which verb they are derived from (taking into account any consonant mutations). Examples of their formation are given below.

  • Most 1st conjugation verbs:
співати
to sing
співаний
sung
порізати
to cut, slice
порізаний
cut, sliced
  • Verbs in - увати/-ювати where the stress in the infinitive comes before the - увати/-ювати:
очікувати
to await, expect
очікуваний
awaited, expected
повторювати
to repeat
повторюваний
repeated
  • Verbs in - увати/-ювати where the stress in the infinitive comes on the ва:
механізувати
mechanise
механізований
mechanised
сформулювати
formulate
сформульований
formulated
  • Most 2nd conjugation verbs are formed from the 1st person singular:
зробити, зроблю зроблений
done, made
чистити, чищу чищений
cleaned
носити, ношу ношений
worn
  • Most short verbs:
мити
wash
митий
washed
бити
beat
битий
beaten
гріти
warm, heat
грітий
warmed, heated
  • Some verbs can have two variants:
одягнути одягнутий
dressed
одягнений
dressed

(other verbs like this: колоти, пороти, замкнути)

Participles and passive sentences

As mentioned before, the passive is frequently avoided in Ukrainian, either by using the reflexive or the 3rd person plural. Passive may be used, however, if the "doer" of the action is unknown or unspecified, or there is no overt subject of the sentence.

Passive sentences are constructed with the help of the past passive participle, with the ending -о:

написати написаний написано  Книжку вже написано.
The book has been written.
(There has been written the book.)
зробити зроблений зроблено Заходи вже зроблено.
Measures have been taken

To practise the passive go to Exercise 17.7A.

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© 2007 Marta Jenkala