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'-ing' forms

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 LearnEnglish Team,

I want to know the function of the word "using" in these three sentences below,

1. Language is the ability to communicate using words.

2. Those transactions must add up to a lot of money spent using credit cards.

3. People can shop now using gadgets like smartphones and tablet devices.

Do they ( the word "using" in those three sentences above ) work as a participle ?

If so, can I write a sentence with the same meaning for each of them above like this ?

1. Using words, people are able to communicate.

2. Using credit cards, people spent a lot of their money.

3. Using gadgets like smartphones and tablet devices, people can shop now.

Could you please elaborate it for me ?
Thank you very much.

Hello Parikenan,

Yes, using is a (present) participle in all of those examples.

Your rewritten sentences are all grammatically correct, though they do not mean exactly the same as the original sentences. For example, the first sentence tells us what language is; the rewritten version tells us what people (are able to) do.



The LearnEnglish Team

You are right, Peter. Thank you very much for correcting my sentences. I wasn't rigorous enough when I tried to rewrite those sentences. It is clear now that "using" works as a (present) participle in all my example sentences.
Thank you very much.


Hello LearnEnglish team
Could you help me these sentences

1)He denied having stolen the money
2)He denied that he stole money
3)Do you mind my using your laptop to check my emails
4)Do you mind if I use your laptop to check my emails

Are 1-2 and 3-4 same meaning or not
I am confused about these gerunds
Thank you

Hello Ykilic34,

First, a comment on sentence 1: I think you can say both deny doing and deny having done without any difference in meaning, but I think deny doing is much more common. After all, the use of deny (or denied) already establishes the fact that the action is in the past, so the perfect form is superfluous.

Sentence 2, as it stands, has a more general meaning. It tells us about the person's normal behaviour. If you put the definite article in, then it becomes specific:

He denied that he stole the money.

Now, the meaning is the same as the first sentence. Like the first sentence, you could use a perfect form (...had stolen...) without changing the meaning.


Sentences 3 and 4 differ only in style, with sentence 3 being much more formal.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi ,

Please check below statements:

1. He is studying for being a doctor.
2. He is studying to be a doctor.

Which one is correct and why please ?

Hello Shoaib50,

2 is correct -- it's an infinitive of purpose. We don't use 'for' + '-ing' forms to talk about the purpose of an action (in this case, 'is studying').

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello LearnEnglish Team,
I am struggling with the use of a modal verb "would" in these sentences below.
It is said by people who are leaving in Britain, but unfortunately I can't contact the website to ask about the function of "would" that they use.

This is the sentences,

Delegating is one of the most important aspects of any
manager’s job. Very simply, delegating is when a senior person gives a task or a
part of a task to a junior person to do. So one would normally find that a
manager would take responsibility for a large job which he or she would then
break down into a number of smaller tasks, each of which would be given to a
more junior person in the company to complete. That really is what we mean by

Do they use "would" ( ....a
manager would take responsibility...., ....which he or she would then
break down into....., ......each of which would be given to a
more junior person..... ) as a way to express an opinion in a polite way ?

Hello Parikenan,

I'm afraid we can't answer questions about texts from other websites, but at a glance, it looks to me as if they are using 'would' to speak about a hypothetical situation here.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much, Kirk. Your answer (that it is about a hypothetical situation ) is more than enough to make my curiosity about the subject clear because it triggers me to read more about " hypothetical situation " and how to implement it. I was really looking forward to your answer about this, I wanted to know this very much after failing to get the answer from many other sources.

I understand that you can't answer questions about texts from other websites, but I just don't know how to make my question work without writing all the details. I am very sorry for the way I wrote my question, and the next time I will try to create my own sentences whenever I am asking questions.

Thank you very much, Kirk.