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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



The best way to improve your spoken English is to practise as much as possible. Try to find an opportunity to do that.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Adam,
Thank you for your really useful lessons.  As a new comer, I wish you the best.

Thank you for these grammar exercises.

i find this programe very well to lrean english.
thank for providing this opportunity for us.

waht is the difference between
i love watching my son play football.
i love watching my son playing football.

Hi Hamad,
In my opinion, there is no difference in meaning between these two sentences.
However, if the action is one which can be completed, there is a small difference in meaning. e.g. 'I love watching my son write his name' focusses on the completed action and its result. 'I love watching my son writing his name'  focusses on the action in progress, the activity itself.
I hope that helps!
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone! i'm a new member. i want to speak English fluently. please help

Hello I'm new member and weak english language.Pls right way the english language.

hello I am new user and i want learning English language. 

Now I'm a member. I'm starting studying the lessons. Is the latter sentence right? In the phrase " do the cooking" how about (the+v-ing)? Please, someone, help me with it. Using -ing forms is very useful. Thanks.