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'-ing' forms

Undefined

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

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-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:

amusing
boring
disappointing
interesting
surprising
tiring
worrying
exciting
frightening
shocking
terrifying
annoying
-ing form as an adjective

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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

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-ing form as a noun or adjective 2

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Comments

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’

Hello libero,

Yes, that is correct. Well done!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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