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



I Learnt That Verbal Adjectives Make Use Of The Past Participle Or Present Participle Of A Verb, In Sentences. When Should Know When To Use The Present Or Past Participle In Sentences. For Example:
(1) Her Crying Attitude Appauls Me.
Why Not The Past Participle "Cried".

(2) To Live In The Days Of Fallen Heroes Are Unbearable.
Why Not The Present Participle "Falling".

(Though Out Of Context, Am I Supposed To Put A Period After A Quotation Mark?)

Hello CIJO,

You can find a general explanation of this on our Adjectives with -ing and -ed page, though it also depends on the specific adjective you are using.

Please note that not all present participles and past participles are used as adjectives, and sometimes they have a meaning that is different from the meaning of the verb. For example, 'crying' means 'needing urgent attention'. I would probably say something like 'her whiny attitude' instead.

'fallen heroes' is correct. 'falling' would have a present meaning and 'fallen' has a past meaning, which is appropriate here.

Where exactly a full stop is put after a quotation is a matter of style, i.e. sometimes it is put inside and other times outside.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

In the sentence "he started practising ahimsa" .Here we know that ahimsa is a noun.Please clarify whether practising is noun or adjective?

Hello Surigi Jhansee
In this case, 'practising' is a gerund, i.e. the noun form of the verb 'practise'. Since the gerund is a kind of verb form, it can have an object (here, it is 'ahimsa').
It might be useful to point out that in British English, 'practise' is a verb and 'practice' is a noun. In American English, both forms are spelled with a 'c', i.e. 'practice' is the spelling for both verbs and nouns.
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team