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.




i find this programe very well to lrean english.
thank for providing this opportunity for us.

Hello, I'm a new user and I'm very happy to find out this site web which is very helpful for me to learn English. I'm not good at speaking and listening English. Would you please give me tips how to improve my speaking English. Thank you very much.

The best way to improve your spoken English is to practise as much as possible. Try to find an opportunity to do that.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for these grammar exercises.

Dear Adam,
Thank you for your really useful lessons.  As a new comer, I wish you the best.

I am happy to know this site web. Thank you.

Thanks,; i read about your esteemed site in a newpaper"Hindustan times". I had been hopeless,, thannks for creating such a site i'll never stop going for.

hi everyone, i would like to improve my English. and I'm a new comer to this site.

Dear Adam,

I'm a new member.  Thank you for your very useful lesson.  Could you please help me to answer the following questions which I study from -ing form lesson:
1. As an Adjective:
E.g: He saw a woman lying on the floor.  Lying is an adjective but we put it after woman (Noun)?  When could we use the rule?
2. How can I remember the common verbs followed by an -ing object/ -ing adjectives respectively - admit, like, hate, start, avoid, suggest, enjoy, dislike, begin, finish - / and amusing interesting, worrying, shocking, disappointing, boring, surprising, exciting, terrifying, frightening, tiring, annoying - in the best way? Please tell me whether you have any song/ pharse or any method to learn by heart them.
Again, thank you for your precious time.
Best Regards

I have a problem with grammar, I can't see the difference between these two sentences:
-ing forms
... as an object :
Learning English can be difficult.
...as the subject of a verb:
Learning English is not easy.
I see both of them as subjects. Could you explain it to me? Thank you.
And I see a tiny typing error among the commonest –ing adjectives used in front of the noun:
Thank you in advance, I love this website and I really appreciate your work.
Best wishes,