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'-ing' forms

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


-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:

-ing form as an adjective


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


-ing form as a noun or adjective 2



Hi ali shah,

These are all participle clauses. In 1, they act as adverbial clauses by giving more specific information about how the democrats pursued a more strategic campaign. How did they do it? By focusing of table issues and by avoiding the other, more fractious issues. Note that here, the subject of the main clause ('democrats') is the same subject of the verbs in the participle clauses. It is not possible to change 'focusing' and 'avoiding' to past participles here ('focused' and 'avoided') as that would give the participles a passive meaning; here an active meaning is intended.

The subject of the participles 'having swollen' and '[being] expected' in 2 is 'the population', which is a different subject than the subject of the main clause (which is 'the demand for ...'). This is why 'with' is used to begin the clause. (Note that the present participle 'being' was omitted through ellipsis in the second verb.) The clause in 3 begins with 'with' for the same reason.

I hope that helps you make sense of them!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

"Since the restoration of judges under the PPP government, it was thought that independent courts would safeguard citizen rights and also protect democracy."
My question is: Can 'since' be used for time in the above strucuture(the past indefinite passive) as we are taught we use 'since' (for time) in Present Perfect Tense and Present Perfect Continuous Tense? For instance, He has been sleeping since yesterday's night.

Hello again ali shah,

I don't know what the writer of that sentence meant to say, but as I understand it, 'since' refers to time in that sentence. It specifies a point in time that marks the beginning of a change. It is often used in the same way with the present perfect simple and continuous, but can also be used with other tenses. Please see some examples under Since and tenses on this page.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

''Since the restoration of judges under the Congress government, it was thought that independent courts would safeguard citizen rights and also protect democracy.''

Is it okay to use 'since' in the above structure as we use 'since' in the Present Perfect and Perfect Continuous tense, and instead of 'because' etc?

Hello ali shah,

'since' has several meanings. One speaks about reason (similar to 'because of') and the other about time. In this case, 'since' speaks about time and so replacing it with 'because' would change the meaning.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Please let me know whether I have understood the difference between 'going to' and verb plus ing correctly. e.g. I am going to buy a car soon. I am buying a car soon. The first is my intention, a plan or an idea. I might not do it.
The second is I have organised it. I have seen the car and I have paid an advance, too. Very soon I will pay the balance and buy it.

If I am wrong please let me know the right way of using these forms.

Thank you.

Hello Lal,

I think that is a good summary. Going to describes an intention, while be + verbing (the present continuous) is used for things that we consider to be already in progress.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello! I would like to ask why do we use 'need convincing' here. I know the verb need should be followed by an infinitive. Is this something different?
If you are a dog lover, you won't need convincing that dogs are intelligent beings with thoughts.

Hi Sash,

In British English, a verb in the -ing form is routinely used after the verb 'need' to communicate a passive meaning. See the dictionary entry (follow the link) for a definition and examples of this. In this case, you could rephrase it as 'you won't need to be convinced that' or 'we won't need to convince you that'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone!
I have a question about "ing forms" after prepositions. Do we use "ing" after any preposition? Which sentence below is grammatically correct?
1)- I am too young to understand.
2)- I am too young for understanding.

Thanks a lot!