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'-ing' forms

Undefined

Level: beginner

We can use the -ing form of a verb:

I love swimming.
Swimming is very good for your health.
You can get fit by swimming regularly.

The main problem today is rising prices.
That programme was really boring.
He saw a woman lying on the floor.

-ing forms as nouns

-ing nouns are nearly always uncount nouns. They can be used:

  • as the subject of a verb:

Learning English is not easy.

  • as the object of a verb:

We enjoy learning English.

Common verbs followed by an -ing object are:

admit like hate start avoid
suggest enjoy dislike begin finish
  • as the object of a preposition :

Some people are not interested in learning English.

-ing form as a noun

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-ing forms as adjectives

The -ing adjective can come:

  • in front of a noun:

I read an interesting article in the newspaper today.
We saw a really exciting match on Sunday.

Your new book sounds very interesting.
The children can be really annoying.

  • after a noun:

Who is that man standing over there?
The boy talking to Angela is her younger brother

  • especially after verbs of the senses like see, watch, hear, smell, etc.:

I heard someone playing the piano.
I can smell something burning.

The commonest -ing adjectives are:

amusing
boring
disappointing
interesting
surprising
tiring
worrying
exciting
frightening
shocking
terrifying
annoying
-ing form as an adjective

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Patterns with -ing forms

Because an -ing noun or adjective is formed from a verb, it can have any of the patterns which follow a verb. For example:

  • it can have an object:

I like playing tennis.
I saw a dog chasing a cat.

  • it can be followed by a clause:

I heard someone saying that he saw you.

-ing form as a noun or adjective 1

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-ing form as a noun or adjective 2

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Comments

Hello John Mccan

In 1, 'tiring' is an adjective that is formed from the participle of the verb 'tire'. It is a subject complement. One way you can test this is by replacing 'tiring' with another adjective. If it is grammatical and makes sense, that's a good clue that 'tiring' is an adjective. By the way, you would need to say 'Journeys are tiring', as we don't generally use singular count nouns without an article.

In 2, 'working' is a noun, more specifically a gerund, and is a subject complement. You can do the same kind of test as above, except this time substituting a noun.

Yes, object complements can be noun phrases (including gerunds), adjectives and infinitives. I wouldn't include participles here, but if you mean a participle being used as an adjective, fine.

Subject complements can be noun phrases (including gerunds), pronouns, adjectives (including participles used adjectivally) and infinitives (though this is a bit unusual).

Hope that clears it up for you.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Sure, it is very helpful.

Can we include relative clause in category of subject/Object complement.

Eg. This worst part is that (subject complement)

“Do you know someone who can work the photocopier?” (object complement) or are thee different than complement?

Hi again John Mccan

I suppose you could, but I'm afraid we're getting into territory (advanced sentence parsing and syntax) that isn't a place we typically go. Our main purpose here is to help users with the content on our sites and for them to learn to use English, not so much analyse it exhaustively.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, could you help me...

In this sentence,
She told me that you sent her an email telling her that you would like to have more pen pals from the US.
what is the function of the -ing form of the word telling? I am confused...

Hello cindymaria

That is an '-ing' form used to create a reduced relative clause. It could also be written 'an email that told her that ...' -- 'telling' replaces 'that told'. This is an advanced use that is not explained on this page, but I'm sure you can find more information about it if you do an internet search.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! Can the sentence "She enjoys cooking." be transformed in the passive voice "Cooking is enjoyed by her."

Hello Micicia,

Grammatically, yes. However, it seems a very odd sentence and I cannot think of a context in which you would want or need to say this.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello
Could you please help me with my question? I would like to know if the following sentences are correct:
He analyzed it interesting. (to mean he analyzed something in an interesting way.)
He did/expressed/used it interesting. (to mean he did/expressed/used it in an interesting way.)
I know that I can use "interesting" after link verbs and also sentences like "I found it interesting" are correct. But do my examples make sense? And if they are wrong please tell me how I can express the same meaning correctly.
Thank you in advance.

Hello Sep80

Those sentences are not correct in standard British English. Some people might understand your meaning, but I think many might not. I think the simplest way to express your ideas is in the way you have explained them already: 'He analysed it in an interest way', or for the second one you could also say 'He did/said something interesting'.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Is the -ing form of the verb, ‘laugh’ in the sentence below a noun? If yes, kindly give me the reason. If no, what is it?
Sentence: What are you laughing about?
Thanks,
Jonathan

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