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.

 

Exercise

Comments

Hello! I would like to ask why do we use 'need convincing' here. I know the verb need should be followed by an infinitive. Is this something different?
If you are a dog lover, you won't need convincing that dogs are intelligent beings with thoughts.

Hi Sash,

In British English, a verb in the -ing form is routinely used after the verb 'need' to communicate a passive meaning. See the dictionary entry (follow the link) for a definition and examples of this. In this case, you could rephrase it as 'you won't need to be convinced that' or 'we won't need to convince you that'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone!
I have a question about "ing forms" after prepositions. Do we use "ing" after any preposition? Which sentence below is grammatically correct?
1)- I am too young to understand.
2)- I am too young for understanding.

Thanks a lot!

Hello acorreia,

Yes, any verb that comes after a preposition is put in the -ing form. Of the two sentences you ask about, 1 is correct. Many adjectives (like 'young') can be used in this way, i.e. Subject + BE + adjective + infinitive.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk!

Ok, I understood. So, there are some exceptions for these situations.
Thank you once again!

Best wishes,

Artur

Hello.
In a sentence like: "He was busy doing his homework." What type of clause is "doing his homework" ?
Thanks in advance.

Hello Nonawyy,

This is an example of a participle clause, sometimes also called a participle phrase. We have a page on this construction which you can find here.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

‘Something flying in the sky hit him’
is ‘flying’ used as an adjective after a noun in this sentence?
Can I say ‘something was flying in the sky and hit him’

Hi libero,

In this sentence, 'flying' is a present participle used to make a reduced relative clause. As you suggest, it is a reduced form of 'Something that was flying in the sky hit him'. Good work!

You can see an explanation of this on our defining relative clauses page -- look for the last example sentence on the page, just above the exercise.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,
Can I say that you are also using the reduced relative clause in your message above?

‘flying is a present participle used to make a reduced......’ Here ‘used’ = ‘that is used’

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