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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



Hello Mr Adam  you are great. I am a foreign learner  and the most difficult thing in English is how to use the perfect tenses. Thank you very much.

yes that right

We can use the -ing form of the verb: as an adjective
Example: He saw a woman lying on the floor.
I can't understand (lying) Why is it an adjective, isn't it a verb?
Please clear it to me, because i can't know the difference in this example.
Thank you

Hi Seham: Let me explain why "lying" is working here like an adjective. By definition, adjective is a word that describes  a characteristic or attribute of a noun. On the other hand, in the context's phrase "lying" isn't refers to say something untruthful, but to the position in which the woman was when he was seen.  "Lie" has at least six meaning..

Hi Adam,
Nobody answer me.
Thank you

Hello Seham,
We have thousands of users on LearnEnglish and I'm afraid we don't have time to answer all the questions they ask - certainly not within 24 hours!
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Adam,
I'm sorry, We will wait for answers. Thank you.

I couldn't open the exercise.
Vhen it was opened, I found a strange lettering.
could you solve this problem...

We had some problems with the exercises today, but I think they are fixed now. Please let us know if you see any other problems.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everybody!
Does anyone know the correct writing of the following sentence:
- I participated in drafting legal treaties and preparing conferences.
- I participated in drafting of legal treaties and preparing of conferences.