We can use the -ing form of the verb:

• as a noun:

I love swimming.
Swimming is very good for your health.
You can get fit by swimming regularly.

-ing nouns are nearly always uncount nouns

  • as an adjective:

The main problem today is rising prices.
That programme was really boring.
He saw a woman lying on the floor.

Because the -ing noun or adjective is formed from a verb it can have any of the patterns which follow a verb, for example:

  • ... an object:

I like playing tennis.
Can you imagine living on the moon?

  • ... or an adverbial:

You can earn a lot of money by working hard.
There were several people waiting for the bus.

  • ... or a clause:

I heard someone saying that.

The -ing noun 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.

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.

 The commonest –ing adjectives used in front of the noun are


amusing interesting worrying shocking disappointing
boring surprising  exciting terrifying frightening
tiring annoying      


  • after a noun:

Who is that man standing over there?
The boy talking to Angela is her younger brother.

  • and especially after verbs like see, watch, hear, smell etc.

I heard someone playing the piano.
I can smell something burning.





Hello jugavioli,

Yes, I'm afraid that's not a correct sentence. I'm not entirely sure what you intend to say but I think the form you are looking for might be:

She's starting a course that will help her prepare for the test at the end of the year.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Sir;

"The advantages of living abroad"
living abroad is not easy.

In the above sentence, living is a noun (verb+ing) and abroad is an adverb.

How does the adverb come after a noun ?.

Hi pumbi,

Gerunds can be modified by both adjectives and adverbs. For example:

I like creative cooking. [adjective]

I like cooking creatively. [adverb]


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

hello teachers how are you?
i have a question about 'ing' form

you need to be working.
instead of
you need to work.

and one more with word 'want'
you don't want to be overdrawing.
i don't want to be feeding the animal.
instead of
you don't want to overdraw.
i don't want to feed the animal.

I'm confused with this kind of 'ing structure' please explain.

Hello ahmednagar,

In these sentences 'to be v+ing' is a continuous infinitive, in other words, and infinitive in continuous aspect. A continuous form shows that the speaker views the action as something that is incomplete, in progress, etc., and that is how I'd explain the sentences you ask about. For example, 'You don't want to be overdrawing' could imply that you will be withdrawing money periodically and that you must be careful not to overdraw from your account. You could also say 'You don't want to overdraw' and the meaning isn't much different - there's just less emphasis on the action as something that is continuing.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

ok thank you so much
one more question about 'how' & 'why'
we use them like
that's how i would explain it.
this is how i do it.
it's how i use them.
that's why he was there.
which is why i ask you.
this is why you can't have the keys.
my asthma it's why i can't run a mile.

please elucidate them what is the difference between them
"how" with this , it ,that.....
"why" with this, that, which ,it....

Hello ahmednagar,

In general, 'how' explains a way of doing something and 'why' explains a reason or cause. Unless I've misunderstood your question, I don't think it's anything more complicated than that. But if I've misunderstood, please let me know!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

my question is that we use "how" with other word ( that , this , it ) like
that's how i do it.
(that's the way i do it)
this is how we use them.
(that's the way we use them)
it's how people talk.
(that's the way people talk like this)

and same case with "why"

I'm showing a dent on my car and tell my friend this is why you can't have the keys.
(this is the reason/cause you can't have the keys).

he's ill that's why he can't go to the party.
( illness is the reason/cause).

my asthma it's why i can't run a mile.
( my asthma is the reason/cause).

are these interchangeable?
that's how, this is how , it's how

can we use all these in the same context.
that's how people talk like this.
it's how people talk like this.
this is how people talk like this.

and same case with "why"

this is why you can't have the keys.
that's why you can't have the keys.
which is why you can't have the keys.
it's why. you can't have the keys.

i hope you will understand my question.

Hello ahmednagar,

What comes after 'this', 'that' or 'it', e.g. 'is why ...', 'is how ...', 'is the way ...', etc. doesn't affect choosing 'this', 'that' or 'it'. It sounds to me like your question is more about the difference between 'this', 'that' and 'it'. Is that correct?

In general, 'it' is used to refer to something we're already talking about, and 'this' and 'that' are used to refer back to ideas or sentences mentioned earlier. The three words are explained in detail on our it and there and this, that, these, and those pages, as well as this Cambridge Dictionary page.

I hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team