'-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


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hello rashed! i think you dont angry with me for i involved in to this.i also have same problem that you have..but i saw that now you use it correctly."i feel confused selecting tenses and expressing actual thoughts"


I'm studying present participles that qualify nouns.

My first question is what does the word qualify mean? I have looked it up in a dictionary but all it does is lead me to other vague words, such as limit or modify.

Secondly, could you please identify the nouns that are being qualified in the following sentences?


1. I can see Sarah sleeping.

2. I can hear a bell ringing.

3. Mrs Gray can smell the rice burning.

4. We can see the boys playing football.

5.Can you see the man selling balloons in the street?


Thank you for your help

Hi lexeus,

In this context 'qualify' means, I'm afraid, to limit or modify the meaning!  Your dictionary is correct but I'm not sure why you would consider these terms to be vague.

The examples you provide are participle clauses, which work in a similar way to relative clauses.  In fact, you can insert a relative pronoun into each sentence to make it clear which noun in being described by the participle clause:


1. I can see Sarah (who is) sleeping.
2. I can hear a bell (which is) ringing.
3. Mrs Gray can smell the rice (which is) burning.
4. We can see the boys (who are) playing football.
5.Can you see the man (who is) selling balloons in the street?


For more information on participle clause look here.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter,


Thank you for your reply.

Would it be correct to say that the noun being qualified in a participle clause is always the object of that clause?


Best wishes,


Hi lexeus,

Participle clauses can modify both the subject and object of a sentence:


A man carrying a bag went into the cafe. ['a man' is the subject here]

My sister photographed a man carrying a bag. ['a man' is the object here]


Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, LearnEnglishTeam,

Do we say "She is a pleasing girl." or "She is a pleased girl." ?  Why or why not?

Another question: "I hope everything goes well in the future. "or "I hope everything will go well in the future." ?  Which one is right and why? 

Thanks very much.

Hi joyran,

It depends on what you want to say.  If you want to say 'she pleases me' (in the sense of 'I like her') then you would say 'pleasing', though it is rather old-fashioned usage.  On the other hand, if you want to say that she likes something then you would say 'pleased'.

In your second question, both of the alternatives are correct and I can't think of any context in which only one would be possible.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish


I'd be happy to explain, but I'm not sure what it is that confuses you!  Could you be more specific?

Many thanks,



The LearnEnglish Team

Common verbs followed by an -ing object are: Can i have examples to understand it more Thanks Regards Noura

Hello Noura,

We've listed here some of the more common verbs of this type, but you can find many long lists of such verbs with an internet search for 'verbs followed by ing'.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I'm a new student.  I want to practice grammar exercise. However, I don't see the exercise below. Could you tell, please?

Hello raiyasao,

I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble accessing the exercise.  We'll need a little more information to help you, so please answer the questions below and we'll see if we can assist.

  • Are you accessing it on a mobile device or a laptop or computer?  On some mobile devices Flash-based exercises will not function, so this could be the problem.
  • Do other exercises and games on LearnEnglish work for you?
  • What do you see where the exercise window should be, a blank space or an error message?
  • What browser are you using to access the page?

Once we have this information we will see if there's anything we can do to help you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Really Interesting, I love this section. I use those lessons with my classes.


Hello Weerabandara!


That's great to hear - it's good to know we're helping teachers as well as learners! Don't forget we have more resources for teachers at our sister site, TeachingEnglish.




Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Mr Adam  you are great. I am a foreign learner  and the most difficult thing in English is how to use the perfect tenses. Thank you very much.


We can use the -ing form of the verb: as an adjective

Example: He saw a woman lying on the floor.

I can't understand (lying) Why is it an adjective, isn't it a verb?

Please clear it to me, because i can't know the difference in this example.

Thank you

Hello Seham,

We have thousands of users on LearnEnglish and I'm afraid we don't have time to answer all the questions they ask - certainly not within 24 hours!

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Seham: Let me explain why "lying" is working here like an adjective. By definition, adjective is a word that describes  a characteristic or attribute of a noun. On the other hand, in the context's phrase "lying" isn't refers to say something untruthful, but to the position in which the woman was when he was seen.  "Lie" has at least six meaning..

Hello. I couldn't open the exercise. Vhen it was opened, I found a strange lettering. could you solve this problem...


We had some problems with the exercises today, but I think they are fixed now. Please let us know if you see any other problems.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everybody!

Does anyone know the correct writing of the following sentence:

- I participated in drafting legal treaties and preparing conferences.


- I participated in drafting of legal treaties and preparing of conferences.



Hello, I've got a question.

Is it true if I said, "They are considering celebrating New Year's eve in Bali?"

If it's not. So what it's suppose to be? Really get confuse to see the differences between gerund and to + infinitive ;(


Thanks a lot, can't wait for the reply ^^

i think that this site is very useful for english learners. Thank for all the the tips you make to help us improving our english skills.

Thanks, mohamedbachir!


Glad you like the site - it's comments like this that make our work worthwhile!


Best wishes, and good luck with your English


Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, everyone of 'Learn Eng. Team'!

I find your site very handy and exciting! Though I am very new to this site and I should know first how to explore the site and make the most of it before I comment on further. But the interactions and responses from your end are making me really interested about it. Hopefully we will interact frequently henceforth.

Wishing  you all a better tomorrow.

Thanks and regds.

Santanu Dey.

Hello...hmm,can you please explain to me,(example-when we add -ing to the verb PUT),why does the letter T double? when do the ending letters double,and when not?

P.S. sorry if I made mistakes by writting this,but I'm not very good at writting english :)


Hello neta2!


This is mostly about sound. Put has a short u sound (like but or cut) followed by a single consonant (t). Other verbs with short vowels sounds are to swim (short i, followed by m) or to stop (short o followed by p). We double the consonant to tell us to keep the short vowel sound - swimming, stopping. When there is a long vowel sound, like in hate (long a) or meet (long e) we know it is a long sound because there is no double letter - hating, meeting. 

This pattern is actually quite common. We use the same thing for adjectives (+er, +est). For example, big has a short i, so we say bigger. This is called the consonant vowel consonant rule, or cvc for short - when you have a short vowel between two consonants at the end of the word, double the last letter. You can do a web search on 'cvc verbs' for more examples, and look at our pronunciation chart to find out which vowel sounds are short (the ones without :)!

Hope that helps


Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Could anybody help me to explain how can I use his or her  and a correct sentence I am a little  bit confusing about how can I use correctly to present it .Thanks to all of you and to the moderator created these kind of online textbook.


I have a quick question regarding the -ing form. In the sentence 'I go swimming' which part of speech is 'swimming'?

Thank you.


Please tell me which one of following two sentences is correct.

1. I don't mind for his not giving me that thing.

2. I don't mind for his giving me not that thing.

I think both are correct but the meanings are different but I'm not sure.

May I omit the word 'for'  from the sentence and rewrite it as "I don't mind his not giving me ... / I don't mind his giving me not .... ."

Thank you.



in reply to your request 6/8/2012

The correct expression is "I don't mind his not giving me that thing." The word for is not used here and the second sentence does not make sense. Could you be thinking about the following phrase? "I don't care for his taste in music/ his comments/ sweets."

Hello Katherine,

Thank you very much for your reply. Now I feel quite free as your mail has

cleared my confusion and from now on I will try to follow the structure which

you've shown.

You may have noticed that I had once thought that the word `for` was unnecessary but couldn't be sure as I didn't know the rule.

I'd tried to use the second statement as an alternative.. .

Thanks again for your help.

C U :))


Hello everybody, How do you do? I am a new member of this site. Sorry friends I am very weak in English. But I would like to improve my listening and speaking English. I will be very grateful to you if you kindly provide learning materials and help me. Take care and keep me in your communication loop.


Hi All,

I am from Thailand, I am new here my English is not good and I want to improve it.

Hello Friend, How do you do? I am also new member of this site. Friend I am also very weak in English. But I would like to improve my listening and speaking English. I will be very grateful to you if you kindly provide learning materials and help me. Take care and keep me in your communication loop.

Hello everybody , my name's Nesrine ,I'm not good at speaking and listening English so  i need practise i want someone help me