Adjectives ending in '-ed' and '-ing'

Do you know the difference between bored and boring?

Look at these examples to see how adjectives ending in -ed and -ing are used.

I was really bored in that presentation.
That was a really boring presentation.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Grammar test 1: Adjectives ending in '-ed' and '-ing'

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Adjectives that end in -ed (e.g. bored, interested) and adjectives that end in -ing (e.g. boring, interesting) are often confused.

-ed adjectives

Adjectives that end in -ed generally describe emotions – they tell us how people feel.

I was so bored in that lesson, I almost fell asleep.
He was surprised to see Helen after all those years.
She was really tired and went to bed early.

-ing adjectives

Adjectives that end in -ing generally describe the thing that causes the emotion – a boring lesson makes you feel bored.

Have you seen that film? It's really frightening.
I could listen to her for hours. She's so interesting.
I can't sleep! That noise is really annoying!

Here are some adjectives that can have both an -ed and an -ing form.

annoyed annoying
bored boring
confused confusing
disappointed disappointing
excited exciting
frightened frightening
interested interesting
surprised surprising
tired tiring
worried worrying

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Grammar test 2: Adjectives ending in '-ed' and '-ing'

Do you need to improve your English grammar?
Join thousands of learners from around the world who are improving their English grammar with our online courses.

Language level

A1 English level (elementary)
A2 English level (pre-intermediate)

Hello Hlaingbobo Win,

That's not quite right. You can use both forms with people and things.

The difference is this: adjectives ending in -ing describe how a person or thing affects others, while adjectives ending in -ed describe how a person or things feels or is changed.

That was a boring film. I didn't enjoy it.

Paul is interesting. I like listening to him

I have a broken computer so I can't send you the document.

Do you have a working computer? I need to send an email.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by vanessa Rodri on Sat, 12/12/2020 - 02:00

Your lessons are the best, they never make me bored.

Hi vanessa Rodri,

That's great! Thanks for your kind comment :)


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by LUIZ ANTONIO on Sun, 06/12/2020 - 15:58

Thank you again, The Adjectives list is very helpful,
Profile picture for user zabiullah

Submitted by zabiullah on Sun, 29/11/2020 - 17:21

so confusing. sometimes i am interested in to do more tasks to keep our mind so much time...

Submitted by Rissa on Tue, 24/11/2020 - 02:55

Thanks, British Council. The lesson is very helpful. But I wonder, Is there any list of adjectives that only use -ed or -ing?

Hello Rissa,

I'm not aware of any such list. In fact, I can think of many adjectives which are neither -ing or -ed, but very few adjectives which only occur in one form, such as hardworking. There are also examples where the -ing form is not an adjective at all, such as misunderstanding, and the adjectival form is a past participle (misunderstood - an irregular form rather than the regular -ed).



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ayuloraine sit… on Mon, 16/11/2020 - 03:26

so i was wonder about that end in "ed and "ing. is the adjective only for past?

Hello Ayuloraine sitanggang,

No, you can use these adjectives to speak about any time. It's usually the verb that indicates the time -- for example:

She was worried.
She will be worried.
She is worried.

Does that make sense?

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Khin Khin Htet on Mon, 09/11/2020 - 15:22

After I read and practice, I was clear this pattern. BC's grammar explanation is really easy to understand for learners !

Submitted by Shakeel on Wed, 28/10/2020 - 11:49

The lesson was very short but interested.

Submitted by June Pann Phyu on Sun, 25/10/2020 - 02:11

I am really confused about this pattern before this time but now I am sure clear. Thanks a lot BC.

Submitted by Moon Wathan on Thu, 22/10/2020 - 15:32

I think lessons are short. I suggest to have many lessons in here because we need to do more to understand this topic.

Submitted by Nurieta on Tue, 13/10/2020 - 10:40

I think lesson was short and very interesting!

Submitted by Wai Myo Aung on Tue, 13/10/2020 - 05:57

I was interested in this lesson as it wasn't boring

Submitted by polina1526 on Mon, 12/10/2020 - 17:31

This grammar rule seems quite hard for many language learners who often get confused which ending is needed. The explanation here is very helpful because it clearly shows not only the rule itself but also few examples of how to use it properly. And if you take the test that goes after the explanation, you will not have any troubles with adjectives ending in '-ed' and '-ing' again.

Submitted by CELSO JAYA CABRERA on Sat, 10/10/2020 - 00:33

I love it, everything is so intersting. Thanks God.

Submitted by taha_subaie on Sun, 04/10/2020 - 07:42

this is very interesting topic , i was confused before , but now it's crystal clear , thank you very much

Submitted by shawn peter ru… on Wed, 30/09/2020 - 09:23

this subject was not boring and i was not bored this subject was interesting and i was interested this subject was not confusing and i was not confused, thank you very much

Submitted by cuba on Mon, 28/09/2020 - 23:41

So intresting this topic... i loved it

Submitted by SarRax on Sun, 27/09/2020 - 13:35

These exercises were interesting and exciting! I was not bored!

Submitted by Sonia Carla on Sat, 26/09/2020 - 23:38

Hi!!! I am very surprised about this page. It's realy good to study English. Learn a new language is very exciting!

Submitted by SergeySSSS on Sun, 13/09/2020 - 06:54

I don't remember when I read the rule, but there writed (ing) use with not animated and (ed) use with alive somebody example like a man or an animal.

Hello SergeySSSS,

That doesn't sound correct to me. Perhaps you can post an example of what you mean and we'll be happy to comment on it.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by solguzman on Thu, 10/09/2020 - 01:19

Really I didn’t understand why the next sentence uses interesting instead of interested: “I could listen to her for hours. She’s so interesting."

Hello solguzman,

We use adjectives ending in -ing to describe the quality of a thing; we use adjectives ending in -ed to describe our reaction to something.

Thus, a film can be interesting and I can be interested when I watch it.

In your example the woman is interesting (her quality). When I listen to her, I am interested (how I react/feel).



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by aniley on Fri, 21/08/2020 - 13:47

This lesson is very interesting for me. I always forget to use the diferents endigs
Profile picture for user reza703

Submitted by reza703 on Tue, 18/08/2020 - 18:42

This lesson is exciting so now I'm excited.

Submitted by hannahbeigi on Fri, 14/08/2020 - 08:31

This lesson is interesting. I am very excited for learning many things.

Submitted by vinhlx902020 on Fri, 31/07/2020 - 05:21

I'm excited about this.

Submitted by shiyashamsu on Sat, 25/07/2020 - 06:51

I am happy with the lessons. They are amazing.

Submitted by a1990 on Fri, 24/07/2020 - 19:56

I am very excited about the lessons I learned here Many thanks

Submitted by Momocompanyman on Fri, 24/07/2020 - 12:32

I'm so excited to learn and follow your course.

Submitted by Mohamed Mostafa on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 16:46

I am really interested in that lesson. I 've never felt any boring with it.
Profile picture for user karim1977

Submitted by karim1977 on Fri, 10/07/2020 - 22:20

Thanks for the good information.

Submitted by Itsmesvvd on Wed, 08/07/2020 - 18:37

Great and simple explanation. Thanks!

Submitted by Marioara Bordei on Wed, 01/07/2020 - 02:55

Was very interesting to do this exercises.

Submitted by Mwana on Fri, 19/06/2020 - 14:57

It was an interesting exercise

Submitted by Chetan posani on Mon, 15/06/2020 - 18:45

Thanks for the practice.

Submitted by Chetan posani on Mon, 15/06/2020 - 18:42

Hi, I got a certificate and a gold medal because I got first in SOS in British council in India.

Submitted by Mika-le on Mon, 15/06/2020 - 06:08

Great explanation! Thank you.

Submitted by Dilnoza Sulaymonova on Fri, 12/06/2020 - 09:36

this site is useful thank u

Submitted by Ira92 on Fri, 12/06/2020 - 00:24

hi. Can you help me understand the grammatical role of each of the words in the following sentence? I am ashamed. subject+ to be+ p.p is correct?

Hello Ira92

'ashamed' is an adjective, not a past participle. The past participle of the verb 'to shame' is 'shamed'. Otherwise your analysis is correct.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

dear Kirk thanks for your answer. If possible, I would like to ask my questions in a different way. some Adjective make by adding 'ed' or 'ing' at end of Verb. as well past participle and continuous forms of that verb. My question is how to understand the grammatical role of these words in a sentence. for example: I am ashamed.(subj+to be+ adj): i feel embarrassed of something i have done. or I am ashamed.(subject+to be+p.p): i want to tell: "something make me ashame" in passive voice.