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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 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.

Hello LearnEnglish Team,

I am confused about the order of events that is used in this story related to the use of The Present Simple and The Past Simple.

Amy Finds a New Job

Amy works at a restaurant called “La Notte”. Amy likes working at
the restaurant. She enjoys meeting new people and talking to the
customers. The only problem is that the restaurant is open very late and
Amy hates staying up late. She dislikes feeling tired in the morning. Amy
really wanted to find a new job, but she was scared to try something
completely different. She considered working in a clothing store, but she
hates folding clothes. She tried to find a good job in the classified ads,
but she wasn’t qualified enough for most of them. Finally she decided to
work in a breakfast restaurant. Now she is able to do what she loves but
without the late nights!

When did Amy finally decide to work in a breakfast restaurant ? (After working at La Notte restaurant or before)

If deciding to work in a breakfast restaurant happens after or while working at La Notte restaurant, why do they use "decided" ?

Could you please explain this ?

Hello Parikenan,

The text appears to shift from present to past tense in a rather illogical manner and I would not say that it is a good model.

Generally, we avoid commenting on texts from other sources, or providing answers to tasks from other sites. It's not our role to assess them in this way, particularly as some of them may simply not be well written. If you have a question about a text like this from another site then I would suggest you ask that site and see what they have to say.



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much for this concise explanation, and I comprehend it. I completely understand why The LearnEnglish Team avoid commenting on the text. At least my curiosity related to the text has been answered.


I'm in a doubt due to the right usage of both these phrases below:

"Do not allow him to work wearing sunglasses"

"Do not allow him working wearing sunglasses"

Which one of those is correct? Or both are incorrect? an' why?

Thank you.


Hi Emmanuel,

The first one is correct! After allow with an object (e.g. him), it needs to + infinitive verb (e.g. to work).

You can use the -ing form after allow, but without an object. For example:

  • We don't allow smoking anywhere in the building.

Does that make sense?


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot for your answer. It is more clear to me now!


Hello LearnEnglish Team,

Could you please tell me when exactly is the right time to use GERUNDS ?

Is it true that GERUNDS are used when we want to talk about an action in an abstract way?

If so, could you please tell me what they mean by "an abstract way" and give me some sentences as examples ?

Thank you.