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'

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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

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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

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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.

Hello again Ira92

I understand the question you are asking, but please note that 'ashamed' is always an adjective and never a past participle -- 'shamed' is the past participle of the verb 'shame'.

There are other many other cases where an adjective is formed from the past participle of a verb, i.e. it is identical in form to the past participle -- for example, all of the adjectives in the box above. 

Sometimes the grammar of a sentence will make it clear if one of these words is an adjective or a past participle that is part of a passive verb. For example, 'I was annoyed by the noise'. In this case, the phrase 'by the noise' is clearly the agent of the passive verb 'was annoyed'. But we could also say 'I was annoyed due to the noise'. In this case, there is no passive verb, so 'annoyed' is an adjective. Most of the time, in the end the meaning is pretty much the same, so the difference doesn't affect the meaning very much one way or the other.

Hope this helps you make sense of it.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

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Hello BBC, i can't describe how amazing i felt last night ? OR i can't describe how amazed i feel last night ?

Hello lima9795

The first one is correct.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

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