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 Lenka,
You're right, there was a problem on this page and I've changed the examples to make it clearer. By the way, we are rewriting this grammar at the moment to make it clearer and more useful, so check back in a few months to see the result!
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Adam,
I am looking forward to seeing it.
I wish you a Happy New Year ! :)

Dear Adam:
I don´t know when to use "gerund" and "infinitive", really could you explain me ?please.
Thank you:

Dear Adam,
I have a comment regarding to question 9/10, the right order for the given words is as following:
I love watching my son play football
could you please clarify why it is correct to use play rather than plays.

Hi, this web sit is excellent, So I'm happy to share this site . any way my problem is i always forget the wards and i can't focus to instruction the write sentences when i talk directly with any one especially some one talk fast. 

Hi. I never knew that british council provides this free website for us to learn english. Really thankful or this. I just knew about this from my father. Could you correct my wrong from this sentence? Thanks.

I am new member. I am from Venezuela. Today is my first day on this website. I want to learn English.

Hi ebanotata 1. I'm too. Nice to meet u!

Hello every body! Nice to meet you!
I'm a new member. I want to make friend with everyone. My English is not good so I  want to improve my english skills.