Verbs followed by the '-ing' form

Level: beginner

Common verbs followed by the -ing form are:

  • verbs of liking and disliking:

detest dislike enjoy fancy hate like love

I love swimming but I hate jogging.
They always enjoyed visiting their friends.

  • phrases with mind:

wouldn't mind (= would like)
don't mind (= I am willing to)
would you mind (= will you please …?)

I wouldn't mind having some fish and chips.
I don't mind waiting for a few minutes.
Would you mind holding this for me?

  • verbs of saying and thinking:

admit consider deny imagine remember suggest

Our leader suggested waiting until the storm was over.
Everyone denied seeing the accident.

  • others:

avoid begin finish keep miss practise risk start stop

I haven't finished writing this letter.
Let's practise speaking English.

Verb + -ing form 1

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Verb + -ing form 2

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verb + noun + -ing form

Some verbs are followed by a noun and the -ing form:

  • verbs of the senses
see hear listen to smell watch etc.

We saw everybody running away.
I could hear someone singing.

  • others:
catch find imagine leave prevent stop

I caught someone trying to break in to my house.
We couldn’t prevent them getting away.

Verb + noun + -ing form 1

ReorderingHorizontal_MTY1MzY=

Verb + noun + -ing form 2

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Infinitive or -ing form?

MultipleChoice_MTY1NDE=

Many of the verbs above are sometimes followed by a passive form of -ing (being + past participle):

I don't like being interrupted.
Our dog loves being stroked under the chin.

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Submitted by zaryankin on Sat, 25/04/2015 - 20:26

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Is it correct to say "We are collecting glass bottles to take them for recycling"

Submitted by Rafael darn on Wed, 08/04/2015 - 14:53

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Hey guys I have doubts in people are studying in the class. Why sometimes we omit the are!! (People studying in the class) can someone clarify this 2. I saw him walking across the road vs I saw him walk across the road I need the answers ASAP

Hello Ianmackinom,

There two different forms here:

The form 'people are studying' is an example of a present continuous verb form, used to describe an action taking place at the time of speaking. You can find more information here.

In the form 'people studying', the -ing form modifies the noun like an adjective; it is an example of a simplified relative clause. You can find more information here.

In your other sentences, the difference is whether you see the action in progress ('walking') or see the whole completed action from start to finish ('walk').

I hope that answers your questions. Please in future post questions once only. This question was posted five times, which simply means we have to delete the extra posts and it takes us longer to answer as a result.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by AbdulMohsin on Sun, 30/11/2014 - 20:04

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Hi Peter Thank you for your prompt response please tell me the difference between the following: 1. I am looking forward to working with you 2. I am looking forward to be working with you Thanks & regards

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 02/12/2014 - 08:44

In reply to by AbdulMohsin

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Hello AbdulMohsin,

'Look forward to' is followed by a gerund (ing-form) or a noun, not a verb, because the 'to' in the phrase is a preposition, not part of an infinitive. Therefore the first sentence is correct, the second is not.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by AbdulMohsin on Fri, 28/11/2014 - 06:31

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Thanks Krik, Context is I wrote an email to one of my client & want to say I am very excited to work with him. Also Can to tell me when to use to be+ Gerund

Hello AbdulMohsin,

The correct form would be 'We are eagerly anticipating working with you'. You might also say (and this would be the most common way of saying this) 'We are looking forward to working with you'.

For information on the gerund (the -ing form used as a noun) please see this page. We make continuous verb forms with be + -ing, though this is not the gerund. You can find more information on continuous forms here.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by AbdulMohsin on Wed, 26/11/2014 - 10:37

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Hello :) is this sentence correct. " We are eagerly anticipating to be working with you."

Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 27/11/2014 - 07:26

In reply to by AbdulMohsin

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Hello AbdulMohsin,

That sounds correct, though I'd need the full context to be able to say so for sure.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by libeelee1314 on Thu, 10/07/2014 - 10:27

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Is it correct to say "I saw John took my pencil out of my bag" instead of" I saw him take my pencil (a complete action)or I saw him taking my pencil.(incomplete action)

Hello libeelee1314,

No, it is not. take is an infinitive (without to) in this construction (and taking indicates the continuous aspect), so a finite form such as took is not correct here.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sina.koohbour on Sun, 11/05/2014 - 00:29

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Hi, Thank you for help with our English learning. Could you please let me know which of the following sentences is correct? The one with to or the one without to? and why? 1- I apply different methods to stimulate students' interest and keep them involved. 2- I apply different methods to stimulate students' interest and to keep them involved. I would be also grateful if you could let me know which of the following sentences is correct. 1- It is important to apply technology to stimulate students and keeping them involved in their learning process. 2- It is important to apply technology to stimulate students and keep them involved in their learning process. Thank you very much for your help. We truly appreciate that. Best Sina

Submitted by Kirk on Sun, 11/05/2014 - 07:52

In reply to by sina.koohbour

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Hi Sina,

Both of the first two sentences are correct, though I'd say you're more likely to hear the first one than the second. Ellipsis (omitting words) has many different forms, but as is the case here, often the to in a to infinitive can be left out in cases such as this one where it is clear that it is meant.

In the second two sentences, only sentence 2 is correct. Just as you used an infinitive (to stimulate) to indicate purpose, you should also use to keep to indicate purpose, though, as in your previous set of sentences, the to before keep can be omitted through ellipsis (though it can also be written with to, as I explained above).

I hope this helps. If have any further questions, please don't hesistate to ask.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sirjoe777 on Mon, 07/04/2014 - 14:28

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Avoiding mistakes is the best way to succeed in English... To think another solution could reveal a good choice... The rules are the same even though we are using -ing and infinitive phrases as a subject? Thank you very much to you and Neil on FB. Ciao. Sergio (xxxxxxx on FB)

Hi Sergio,

Could you provide the context for the second sentence? I think it might mean something different - "to think" at the beginning of a sentence can be used to express wonder or surprise. If you provide the previous couple sentences, we should be able to help you make sense of that.

By the way, I edited out your Facebook account name - our House Rules prohibit the sharing of personal information in order to protect minors.

Best wishes and thanks for your contribution!

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by louder on Thu, 03/04/2014 - 07:29

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Hi dear Friend , please help me select the correct answer : .......... moving to a northern climate, be sure to properly winterize your automobile. A. Gives B. Given C. Giving D. Is giving It's really confused ! thank you so much !

Hi louder,

I would say that none of the answers are really correct in standard modern English, but, like Peter, would choose B if I had to choose one of those answers. I'm not sure how else we can help you - please let us know if there's something else (specific) that we can do.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello louder,

I suspect that the correct answer is B - 'Given'.  However, it is hardly a natural sentence in English.  We would normally say 'Given that you are moving...'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Costa da Morte GZ on Tue, 25/02/2014 - 17:26

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Hi Peter, May be I didn't explain my last question quite good. I'm not looking for that three lists of verbs. My doubt only has to do with which verb followed by '-ing' clauses change the pattern when they go after 'WOULD' and which not. For example, 'LOVE' and 'HATE' change, but 'AVOID' doesn't do it, as follows: 'I WOULD hate TO DO that' but 'I WOULD avoid DOING that' Even though 'HATE' and 'AVOID' are BOTH verbs followed by "-ing" clauses. I hope I won't be too tedious with all this. So, thank you in advance. Best wishes.

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 25/02/2014 - 19:30

In reply to by Costa da Morte GZ

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Hi Costa da Morte GZ,

I'm afraid I don't know of any such list.  Remember that many verbs can be followed by both forms, such as 'hate', which can be followed by both to infinitive and the -ing form:

I hate telling you this / I hate to tell you this

I would hate working there / I would hate to work there

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Costa da Morte GZ on Thu, 20/02/2014 - 11:54

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Dear teachers, I've read your topic and many others regarding the same, but I still have a doubt. When certain verbs (e.g., 'love', 'hate' or 'like') are in conditional tense (after 'would'), they must be followed by infinitive form. For example: 'I would like TO COME' 'I would hate TO DO that' So, my question is if ALL verbs that usually are followed by '-ing' forms, must be followed by infinitive when they are in conditional tense with 'would' as well. Kind regards.

Hi Costa da Morte GZ,

No, not all verbs follow that pattern. For example, the verb avoid is normally followed by -ing. I would avoid to go to that place is not correct; the correct form is I would avoid going to that place.

It might help to think of would like as a softer way of saying want - in this sense, it is not a conditional expression but rather a polite form.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jack shin (not verified) on Wed, 19/02/2014 - 09:19

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I think it gives a little sense of how english people use it. Thanks

Submitted by soofen2222 on Mon, 30/12/2013 - 16:00

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Hi all, 

 

I'm a little confused with the 'Noun + -ing verbs' part discussed above:

Noun + -ing clause
Some verbs are followed by a noun and an -ing clause:

Verbs to do with the senses:

see
watch
hear
smell
listen to
etc.
We saw everybody running away.
I could hear someone singing.

 

I've come across that 'hear, see, make, let' are considered as bare infinitives. Can you please help me with this question?

 

Thank you very much!

Best regards,

SooFen

Hi SooFen,

Many verbs of perception (e.g. hear, see, notice, watch, listen to) can be followed by either the -ing form or the bare infinitive. The difference is that the bare infinitive suggests that the whole activity is perceived, whereas the -ing form indicates the activity is in progress (and therefore hasn't yet finished). For example:

  • I saw a chicken crossing the road. ( = I saw it crossing the road but didn't see it finish crossing.)
  • I saw a chicken cross the road. ( = I saw it cross the road from one side to the other.)

The verbs make and let are not verbs of perception and are followed by the bare infinitive.

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Livon4090 on Sat, 21/12/2013 - 02:24

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Dear Teachers,

Could you please tell about the following construction.

Walking down the street, I found a bracelet.

I have notice sometimes that -ing clauses come before the sentence.It is understood that -ing clause is modifying the subject.

Other than that,would you tell why we use it and how we get the feel to use it. What we can express by using it there?

Please clarify my doubts .

Best wishes,

Livon

 

Hello Livon,

The -ing clause here (an example of a participle clause) tells us what the subject is in the process of doing when the second action takes place.  We could reformulate your sentence as follows:

As/While I was walking down the street, I found a bracelet.

Remember that the -ing form in these clauses can be used for any time reference - past (as in your example), present or future:

Living in London, you will have a higher cost of living.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Pete,

Thank you very much for your reply.

Please keep up the good work !

Best wishes,

Livon

 

Dear Pete,

Thank you for the reply.

Please look at this sentence and its change version. 

The woman who stole the car will go to jail.

The changed version is written viz.

The woman stealing the car will go to jail. 

Would you tell me if both the sentences mean the same. 

Are both these sentences correct?

Could you please tell me how I should have written the changed version that would have meant the same as the first sentence with relative clause.

I would be grateful to you .

Best wishes,

Livon

 

 

 

 

Hello Livon,

The sentences are both correct grammatically, but the meaning is different.  As I said in a previous answer, 'it's worth remembering that in sentences like this the -ing form can represent any time - it actually represents the time of the other action'.  In other words, the -ing form's time reference is the same as the time of the second action.  Here, your second action has a future or present time reference ('will go') and so the 'stealing' has a similar time (future or present).  In other words, the sentence

'The woman stealing the car will go to jail'

suggests that the stealing and the going to jail are not in the past, or are still current.

In your sentence with the relative clause you have two time references: stealing in the past and going to jail as a future or present action.  Therefore an -ing form cannot be used, as it necessarily must have the same time reference as the second action.  You could use it if both actions were in the past ('The woman stealing the car went to jail') but not with different/separate time references.

I hope that answers your question.  I'd also suggest that you look back at the answer I gave to your initial question (quoted above) as it was quite extensive and covered these points already.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Pete,

I appreciate your reply and please keep up the good work.

Best wishes,

Livon

Dear Peter, Does the sentence 'The woman stealing the car went to jail' suggest that the woman went to jail while she was stealing the car? Thank you.

Hello Kaisoo93,

Not necessarily. It really depends on the context. For example, the sentence could be a reduced relative clause using the past continuous:

The woman (who was) stealing the car went to jail.

It's very hard to analyse decontextualised sentences like this because the context is crucial in establishing meaning.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Livon4090 on Wed, 18/12/2013 - 07:53

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Hi Pete,

Here are the following sentences and would you please tell me that out of"corresponded or corresponding" which one is correct in this sentence.

Children should be refrained from using the internet and should complete their education before finding a suitable jobs corresponded/corresponding to their studies. 

Which one is correct and why?

Could you please clarify my doubts by providing some lucid explanation.

Best wishes,

Livon

Submitted by Peter M. on Wed, 18/12/2013 - 23:01

In reply to by Livon4090

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Hello Livon,

The correct sentence would be:

Children should be refrained from using the internet and should complete their education before finding a suitable job corresponding to their studies.

A few days ago I answered a similar question from you about -ing and -ed forms in reduced relative clauses (http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/clause-phrase-and-sentence/clause-structure?page=1).  There, I said that the -ing form in these clauses was used to replace active verb forms, and the -ed form to replace passive verb forms.  Here, we would have an active form (...jobs which correspond to...) and so 'corresponding' is the appropriate form.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Pete,

Thank you very much for your lucid answer.

This sentence was my second one and When I wrote it I thought It should be "corresponded" but I was incorrect.

Students should be refrained from using the internet and should complete their studies before finding a job corresponded to their studies.

 (Jobs which are corresponded to their studies.) having this form in my thought process , I made a mistake.

 

A few days ago ,I wrote my first sentence in a similar form ,which was as follows:

Once student complete their studies, they can apply for jobs related to their fields. ( jobs which are related to their field - this one is passive and it is correct. )

 

Jobs was an immovable object so I thought passive form could be possible in both sentences.

The first sentence had acted as a guideline for me so I wrote the second one in the same fashion which was incorrect.  

Would you please tell me what do you think of it.( why in one sentence "jobs" are considered as active and in the other as passive?) 

Do you think that the word choice was inappropriate?

By this I mean if I had written related instead of corresponded  in the second sentence ,it would have been considered grammatically correct .

 

Best wishes,

Livon

Hi Livon,

job is a noun, and so it doesn't have active or passive forms - only verbs have active or passive forms. correspond is the verb in active form that becomes corresponding; related is derived from the verb relate, but is an adjective in your first sentence. So yes, in your second sentence, it would be correct to say related to their studies.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Tahi on Wed, 05/06/2013 - 09:34

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Hi everyone,
Can you please help me with this sentence? Is it grammatically wrong? (I mean ing usage of clarifying)


“There are very few case studies about Malpasset arch dam clarifying the real cause of failure”


Thanks a lot.

Hi Thai


The sentence should have a definite article (‘about the Malpasset arch dam’), but is fine grammatically apart from that. Some people might prefer, from a stylistic point of view, to use a relative clause (…which clarify the real…), but that’s a personal preference, not a grammatical correction.

 

Best wishes

 

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jessy58 on Thu, 14/03/2013 - 13:34

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i want to ask you about this sentence:

"I'm dying trying not to drag my feet"

why on this sentence, there are two verb-ing/present participle?

thanks then :)

Hello jessy58!

 

Well, that's a slightly odd sentence! Is it from a song?

 

The first -ing is part of the main verb in the present continuous (I'm dying), while the second part is a gerund (trying). It's not really grammatical, because we don't normally follow dying with a gerund, but you do hear this kind of structure in speech. There are correct uses of it, too. For example, 'enjoy' is followed by a gerund:

 

I am enjoying reading this book.

Hope that helps!

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team 

Hello jessy58!

 

Well, that's a slightly odd sentence! Is it from a song?

 

The first -ing is part of the main verb in the present continuous (I'm dying), while the second part is a gerund (trying). It's not really grammatical, because we don't normally follow dying with a gerund, but you do hear this kind of structure in speech. There are correct uses of it, too. For example, 'enjoy' is followed by a gerund:

 

I am enjoying reading this book.

Hope that helps!

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team 

Submitted by Honscho on Thu, 20/12/2012 - 14:24

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Hi,

how do I know if an active "verb + noun +ing" sentence can be transformed into passive voice.

They saw the monkey climbing over the wall. =

The monkey was seen climbing over the wall.

but not:

I remember the monkey climbing over the wall. =

The monkey is remembered climbing over the wall.

Submitted by eb1312 on Fri, 30/03/2012 - 16:35

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Hi there

I would be grateful if you help.

Which sentence is correct and why?

1) I'm looking forward to walking down the memory lane/red carpet etc?

                                              or

2)I'm looking forward to walk down the memory lane/red carpet etc?

Would appreciate your help!

Thanks n kind regards

Submitted by Nguyễn Thị Bích Hòa on Thu, 09/02/2012 - 08:40

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Wonderful, i need  more practise