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The Partizip I is a form of word that is derived from verbs. It can have different functions in a sentence. For example, the Partizip I can be used as an adjunction, an adverb or a noun. Let’s have a closer look to how the Partizip I can affect our sentences.
In German we can form the Partizip I with every verb. All we have to do is to add the letter -d to the infinitive present form of the verb, e.g.
schreiben (to write) -> schreibend (writing)
lachen (to laugh) -> lachend (laughing)
spielen (to play) -> spielend (playing)
Partizip I as an adjunction
The Partizip I forms with -d are the basic forms. When we want to use the Partizip I as an adjunction in a phrase we need to decline it like an adjective. That is, the ending of the adjunction must agree with the noun you are using in gender, case and number.
Der Mann schreibt. – The man is writing.
Ein schreibender Mann. – A writing man.
Der schreibende Mann. – The writing man.
Schreibende Männer. – Writing men.
Die schreibenden Männer. – The writing men.
Die Frau lacht. – The woman is laughing.
Eine lachende Frau. – A laughing woman.
Die lachende Frau. – The laughing woman.
Lachende Frauen. – Laughing women.
Die lachenden Frauen. – The laughing women.
Das Kind spielt. – The child is playing.
Ein spielendes Kind. – A playing child.
Das spielende Kind. – The playing child.
Spielende Kinder. – Playing children.
Die spielenden Kinder. – The playing children.
Partizip I as an adverb
When we want to use the Partizip I as an adverb we need to use it with a full verb. In this case, the Partizip I need not to be inflected. It only exists in its basic form with -d.
Der Mann steht schreibend am Tisch. – The man is standing at the table writing.
Die Frau geht lachend über die Straße. – The woman is crossing the road laughing.
Das Kind sitz spielend in seinem Zimmer. – The child is sitting in his room playing.
Partizip I as a noun.
Additionally, the Partizip I can also function as a noun. This is usually translated as “the (verb) one” in Englisch, e.g.
Der Schreibende. – The writing one. (m.)
Die Schreibende. – The writing one. (f.)
Die Schreibenden. – The writing ones. (pl.)
Der Lachende. – The laughing one. (m.)
Die Lachende. – The laughing one. (f.)
Die Lachenden. – The laughing ones. (pl.)
Der Spielende. – The playing one. (m.)
Die Spielende. – The playing one. (f.)
Die Spielenden. – The playing ones. (pl.)
Please take into consideration that the Partizip I as a noun can only be used when you are referring to a person or thing that is involved in a particular activity. Compare the translations of the following nouns:
Schreiber – author, writer
Lacher – laugh, laugher
Spieler – player; gambler
If you like you can practice forming the Partizip I with the verbs below and try to form sentences with them.
essen – to eat
warten – to wait
stehen – to stand
singen – to sing
sprechen – to speak