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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 Bady,
The first sentence looks great! You could also talk about 'the drafting of legal treaties'.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I've got a question.
Is it true if I said, "They are considering celebrating New Year's eve in Bali?"
If it's not. So what it's suppose to be? Really get confuse to see the differences between gerund and to + infinitive ;(
Thanks a lot, can't wait for the reply ^^

Hello Anyssa!
That's correct - we usually use the gerund with celebrating.
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Is it correct if I say "I love watching my son playing football". ?

Hello inteligente7!
Yes, that sentence is perfectly correct - in fact it's the best way of saying it!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

i think that this site is very useful for english learners. Thank for all the the tips you make to help us improving our english skills.

Thanks, mohamedbachir!
Glad you like the site - it's comments like this that make our work worthwhile!
Best wishes, and good luck with your English
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, everyone of 'Learn Eng. Team'!
I find your site very handy and exciting! Though I am very new to this site and I should know first how to explore the site and make the most of it before I comment on further. But the interactions and responses from your end are making me really interested about it. Hopefully we will interact frequently henceforth.
Wishing  you all a better tomorrow.
Thanks and regds.
Santanu Dey.

Hello...hmm,can you please explain to me,(example-when we add -ing to the verb PUT),why does the letter T double? when do the ending letters double,and when not?

P.S. sorry if I made mistakes by writting this,but I'm not very good at writting english :)

Hello neta2!
This is mostly about sound. Put has a short u sound (like but or cut) followed by a single consonant (t). Other verbs with short vowels sounds are to swim (short i, followed by m) or to stop (short o followed by p). We double the consonant to tell us to keep the short vowel sound - swimming, stopping. When there is a long vowel sound, like in hate (long a) or meet (long e) we know it is a long sound because there is no double letter - hating, meeting. 

This pattern is actually quite common. We use the same thing for adjectives (+er, +est). For example, big has a short i, so we say bigger. This is called the consonant vowel consonant rule, or cvc for short - when you have a short vowel between two consonants at the end of the word, double the last letter. You can do a web search on 'cvc verbs' for more examples, and look at our pronunciation chart to find out which vowel sounds are short (the ones without :)!

Hope that helps
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team