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.





thank you so much you understood correctly that's what i asked for, you linked the pages are very useful.
would you mind me asking one more question?

question about "that if"

for instance;

1) i don't know that if you are not the guy.
you're just you.....
2) she told me that if a fire breaks out you should call the fire department...

please explain why writer uses " that if " in the sentences.
thanks advanced

Hello ahmednagar,

I'm afraid the first sentence doesn't make much sense to me. Perhaps in context it would, but I can't make sense of it as is.

In the second, there is a conditional sentence inside reported speech. You could say 'She told me that ...' could be followed by lots of different sentences (e.g. 'I had to do my homework') and here it's a first conditional sentence. You could also write it 'She told me that you should call the fire department if a fire breaks out'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I'm extremely sorry for interrupting you again but I'm a bit confused. I'm reading something on the internet i have run into other use of "that if "

1) I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in xyz.....

2)Mexico's president warns that if Trump wants to talk trade, he'll have to talk security, too.

and i think these are not conditional sentence explain them that'd be nice.
thanks advanced.

Hello ahmednagar,

These sentences certainly contain conditionals. The sentences are examples of reported speech ('I think that...' and 'Mexico's president warns that...') followed by conditional forms.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

thank you sir you have explained well.

ok thanks I've understood.

Dear friends, I would like to know about why, the Nobel prize awarded, Bob Dylan writes an a in some frases like in "... but the times they are a-changing" instead of just changing ; or for example in the title "A hard Rain's A-gonna Fall". Can you be so kind to help me?
Greetings and Thanks
Roberto Olavarrieta Marenco

Hello Roberto,

This is quite common in songs and poetry. It is done to make the words fit the rhythm of the music or the verse. WIthout the extra syllable the words would not fit so well.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I'm very pleased of your rapid response, thank you.
So, Is it considered a correct form of Poetry? Dylan Thomas or Walt Whitman used to write that way?
-I have to establish that I admire Bob Dylan and enjoy it-

Hello Roberto,

In poetry I would be careful of descriptions like 'correct'. Poetry is a creative medium in which rules are frequently broken! This is a standard feature of poetry with a strong rhythm (metre) , however, and you can find examples in Shakespeare, Milton and others.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team