Adjectives Ending in “-ed” or “-ing”
Level: Beginner Reading Time: 5 minutes Category: Grammar
Adjectives that end in ~ed vs adjectives that end in ~ing can be confusing.
This common mistake can make you look really strange if you get it wrong.
There are many adjectives in English that can end in either ~ed or ~ing.
They look similar, but they are used in pretty different ways.
In this lesson, we are going to look at how they are different and when you should use the different forms.
What are adjectives?
An adjective in English is a word that we use to describe things.
We usually put them before a noun in a sentence to give us more information about that noun.
Common adjectives are things like
- blue and so on.
Usually, adjectives are formed from a base word. This is usually a noun but sometimes it is a verb. Take a look at these examples:
- Hero = Heroic
- Rain = Rainy
- Child = Childish
- Beauty = Beautiful
Bored and boring both come from the base word bore. This is why they have quite similar meanings. Look at this example:
- This movie bores me.
In English, you can usually tell what an adjective does based on the ending of the word. As bored and boring have different endings, they also do different things.
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How to use “~ed” Adjectives
There are a lot of adjectives in English that can end in ~”ed”. Here are a list of common ones:
All of these adjectives are used in the same way. They are used to describe a person’s feelings or emotions. As only humans, and animals, can feel these things, we can’t use them to describe objects or situations.
- I am really excited about the new Spider-Man movie. I can’t wait to see it.
- She was disappointed with her Christmas present. She wanted some jewellery, not a new bag.
- Steve is worried about his exam results because he didn’t study enough.
- I was totally confused when I watched “Inception”. It didn’t make any sense to me.
- He was really surprised that I could speak Japanese.
How to use “~ing” adjectives:
Just like “~ed” adjectives, those same words can also end in “~ing”. Here are some common ones:
Adjectives that end in “~ing” are usually used to describe the object or situation that causes the emotion. We don’t use these words to describe people’s feelings or emotions.
- My new coworker is so annoying. He never stops talking!
- To be honest, I thought the Harry Potter books were a bit boring.
- This new job is very tiring. All I want to do is sleep when I get home.
- I don’t understand how you can enjoy horror movies. They are so frightening.
- She said that she thought politics was interesting, but I couldn’t disagree more.
Common Mistakes with “~ed” and “~ing” adjectives:
Here are some common mistakes that people make when they use these adjectives.
Using “~ing” adjectives to describe feelings:
If you tell someone:
I didn’t do anything last weekend. I was so boring.
You are basically saying:
I didn’t do anything last weekend. I am a boring person.
Telling people you are a boring person is not a good way to make new friends! The same thing is true of you describe another person using the wrong adjective.
Imagine your friend is watching a terrible movie and does not look interested at all. If you say:
He looks so boring.
You are actually saying…
He looks like a boring person.
This is not a nice thing to say about your friend! This is why you need to be careful.
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Using both adjectives to talk about one thing:
When you use these adjectives, you don’t need to use both versions.
Usually, you just need to use one and people will understand the other one automatically. Like this:
- The documentary was interesting, (so I was interested)
- (She was excited because) the baseball game was exciting
- His boss is really annoying, (so he was annoyed.)
- The news was worrying, (so they were worried.)
- My job is tiring, (so I am tired.)
You don’t need to say the parts in (brackets) but people will know that is what you mean. Using both sounds really unnatural.
Using “~ing” adjectives to talk about people:
We can use ~ing adjectives to talk about people as well as places, things and ideas.
We usually use ~ed adjectives to talk about peoples feelings but we can use ~ing to describe what kind of person they are.
When we use ~ing adjectives to talk about people, we are talking about their personality or characteristics, or how they are acting.
Here are some examples.
- Steven is a really interesting person.
- Mike is so annoying, he never stops talking!
- She is so excited about her date tomorrow night.
Just because we usually use ~ed adjectives to talk about people, doesn’t mean that we can’t use ~ing adjectives too.
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