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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



Dear Adam:
I don´t know when to use "gerund" and "infinitive", really could you explain me ?please.
Thank you:

I have a problem with grammar, I can't see the difference between these two sentences:
-ing forms
... as an object :
Learning English can be difficult. the subject of a verb:
Learning English is not easy.
I see both of them as subjects. Could you explain it to me? Thank you.
And I see a tiny typing error among the commonest –ing adjectives used in front of the noun:
Thank you in advance, I love this website and I really appreciate your work.
Best wishes,

Hello Lenka,
You're right, there was a problem on this page and I've changed the examples to make it clearer. By the way, we are rewriting this grammar at the moment to make it clearer and more useful, so check back in a few months to see the result!
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Adam,
I am looking forward to seeing it.
I wish you a Happy New Year ! :)

Dear Adam,

I'm a new member.  Thank you for your very useful lesson.  Could you please help me to answer the following questions which I study from -ing form lesson:
1. As an Adjective:
E.g: He saw a woman lying on the floor.  Lying is an adjective but we put it after woman (Noun)?  When could we use the rule?
2. How can I remember the common verbs followed by an -ing object/ -ing adjectives respectively - admit, like, hate, start, avoid, suggest, enjoy, dislike, begin, finish - / and amusing interesting, worrying, shocking, disappointing, boring, surprising, exciting, terrifying, frightening, tiring, annoying - in the best way? Please tell me whether you have any song/ pharse or any method to learn by heart them.
Again, thank you for your precious time.
Best Regards

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I am happy to know this site web. Thank you.

Hello, I'm a new user and I'm very happy to find out this site web which is very helpful for me to learn English. I'm not good at speaking and listening English. Would you please give me tips how to improve my speaking English. Thank you very much.