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.




Hello Goktung123,

The question is not really one of meaning but of terminology. In your example I would say that 'running' is clearly a participle, as you say, and gives us information about the verb. In examples like 'go swimming', 'go jogging' and so on, there is some discussion over whether to best call the -ing form a gerund or a participle, but there is no disagreement on the meaning in either case.



The LearnEnglish Team

'Reasonably good research exists about the muslim bourgeoisie abchoring the league.'
'Surely, it was not the first time the state has been brought to its knees by rampaging zealots.'

Sir, why was comma not used after 'reasonably', while it was used after 'surely'? Does it make any difference if we put or don't put comma after these adverbs? Does the meaning change if we remove the comma after 'surely'? Sir, please enlighten us about this.

1."In the midterm election process, the Democrats pursued a more coherent and strategic campaign, focusing on ‘table’ issues, such as healthcare, and largely avoiding the fractious debates unleashed by Trump on immigration, race and religion."
Sir, which structure or grammar rule do these -ing verbs( focusing, avoiding) follow? can we use 'focused', 'avoided' instead of the -ing form of words? Does that change meaning if use -ed forms?I'm baffled

2.'With the population having swollen to 207m and expected to increase to 395m by 2047, the demand for clean water and proper sanitation will keep rising. '

3.'Surely, the policy of appeasement does not seem to be working as the situation remains volatile with the Hamass not backing down.'

Similarly, which structure or grammar rule does the first clause(starting with 'with') in 2 and the last part phrase(with the Hamass not backing down) in the 3 follow?

Hi ali shah,

These are all participle clauses. In 1, they act as adverbial clauses by giving more specific information about how the democrats pursued a more strategic campaign. How did they do it? By focusing of table issues and by avoiding the other, more fractious issues. Note that here, the subject of the main clause ('democrats') is the same subject of the verbs in the participle clauses. It is not possible to change 'focusing' and 'avoiding' to past participles here ('focused' and 'avoided') as that would give the participles a passive meaning; here an active meaning is intended.

The subject of the participles 'having swollen' and '[being] expected' in 2 is 'the population', which is a different subject than the subject of the main clause (which is 'the demand for ...'). This is why 'with' is used to begin the clause. (Note that the present participle 'being' was omitted through ellipsis in the second verb.) The clause in 3 begins with 'with' for the same reason.

I hope that helps you make sense of them!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

"Since the restoration of judges under the PPP government, it was thought that independent courts would safeguard citizen rights and also protect democracy."
My question is: Can 'since' be used for time in the above strucuture(the past indefinite passive) as we are taught we use 'since' (for time) in Present Perfect Tense and Present Perfect Continuous Tense? For instance, He has been sleeping since yesterday's night.

Hello again ali shah,

I don't know what the writer of that sentence meant to say, but as I understand it, 'since' refers to time in that sentence. It specifies a point in time that marks the beginning of a change. It is often used in the same way with the present perfect simple and continuous, but can also be used with other tenses. Please see some examples under Since and tenses on this page.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

''Since the restoration of judges under the Congress government, it was thought that independent courts would safeguard citizen rights and also protect democracy.''

Is it okay to use 'since' in the above structure as we use 'since' in the Present Perfect and Perfect Continuous tense, and instead of 'because' etc?

Hello ali shah,

'since' has several meanings. One speaks about reason (similar to 'because of') and the other about time. In this case, 'since' speaks about time and so replacing it with 'because' would change the meaning.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Please let me know whether I have understood the difference between 'going to' and verb plus ing correctly. e.g. I am going to buy a car soon. I am buying a car soon. The first is my intention, a plan or an idea. I might not do it.
The second is I have organised it. I have seen the car and I have paid an advance, too. Very soon I will pay the balance and buy it.

If I am wrong please let me know the right way of using these forms.

Thank you.

Hello Lal,

I think that is a good summary. Going to describes an intention, while be + verbing (the present continuous) is used for things that we consider to be already in progress.



The LearnEnglish Team