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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 Tun,
I'm not quite clear what you mean in your question. It is correct to say 'do the cooking'  in English. We have some more information about verbs with -ing forms and verbs followed by -ing clauses which might be helpful for you.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

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Hi, I'm new learner of this site. I want to improve my English through the site.
Thank you,

Please, explain me the following sentence from the exercise:
I love watching my son play football.
I understand that He or She loves to watch how his/her son plays football. Is it right?
why in the sentence verb "play" without "s" at the end? Is it right to say:
I love watching my son plays football

Hi All, I'm a new member in here.  how I can improve my english specially for speak with other people.

Many thanks for your fantastic website. Could you please help me to understand the grammar of these sentences   said in small city big world :
I remember you telling me.
It depends on me getting the right degree.
she spends much time watching soap opera on TV.
I reviewed the grammar lesson about -ing form but I can not understand the role of -ing forms ( telling, getting and watching) in those sentences.
I would like to thank you in advance