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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



Hi there brilliant team!
I am writing to find out more about following sentences
-I like eating Pizza and
-I like Pizza
I really wonder why someone can say first sentence 'I like eating Pizza'.

For me, 'I like Pizza' is more logical.Because I can't find any reason why someone likes the action of eating. You like foods not eating.

I would be grateful if you could clear up my confusion.
Best wishes!

Hi Nevı,

Actually, it's fine to simply say I like eating (pizza). 'Eating' means 'consuming food', so food is already part of its meaning.


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi magnificent team!
I am confused about sth about present participles.
I saw following sentence

"After packing all the packages, we continued our journey"

And information below the sentence says 'You will sometimes see a conjunction or preposition followed by the participle clause'

Before I didn't know that information, I was sure 'packing' in the sentence is a gerund. Thus, I am shocked.

Which one is true for 'packing' gerund or present participle.

You'd be doing me a huge favour.

Hi Nevi,

Many modern grammarians of English see this distinction (gerund vs present participle) as inappropriate for English and so prefer to simply use the term '-ing form' and identify different uses of a single form rather than trying to identify two distinct forms. Thus, I would simply say that 'after' is followed by an ing-form.



The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your reply teacher.

I wonder if the subjects of actions(to pack and to continue) must be the same(ın the sentence, for example, we) when we use conjunction or preposition+Ving

You'd be really helping me out.

Hello again Nevi,

Yes, in these kinds of sentences the performer of the action described in the participle clause is the same as the subject of the verb in the main clause. The time reference is also the same. For example:

Talking to John, you changed your mind. [the conversation with John is in the past]

Talking to John, you'll change your mind. [the conversation with John is in the future]


You can read more about this on this page:



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello LearnEnglish Team,
I want to know the difference between these two sentences below,

1. Neither does it
explain if there is
the difference
between net
cash flow and
net income.

2. Neither does it
explain if there is
a difference
between net
cash flow and
net income.

Is using "the difference" after "there is" grammatically correct ?

Thank you very much,

Hello Parikenan,

No, that's not correct. It's clear from the sentence that the speaker (and listener) are not familiar with whatever difference there may be as the if-clause tells us that it is not even certain that there is a difference. Therefore 'the' is not appropriate.



The LearnEnglish Team

It is very clear now. Thank you very much, Peter.


Hello LearnEnglish Team,
I want to know the difference between these two expressions below,

1. The company
2. The operational
of the company

Do they both have the same meaning ?

Thank you very much,