-ing form

From Teflpedia

An -ing form or gerund-participle is the form taken by a verb with -ing added to the base form (occasionally with some minor spelling changes). These can function used as verbs, nouns or adjectives, and with the addition of -ly as adverbs:

Ending Part of speech Traditional name Example Notes
-ing Verb Present participle I am writing. Used to indicate the progressive aspect.
Noun Gerund Singing is my hobby. Used for nominalisation.
Adjective Present participial adjective Grammar is very exciting! Adjectives can be transformed into adverbs by adding -ly.
-ingly Adverb Present participial adverb His chances were vanishingly small. These adverbs may or may not be included from this group.

The boundaries between the parts of speech described above are fuzzy. It is often the case that for an example sentence, differing but equally valid analyses are possible. For example: "You are boring" (unclear verb or adjective), "You are very boring" (adjective) "You are boring me" (verb).

Apart from the obvious monosyllables, such as sing, king, etc., not all words ending -ing are gerunds or participles: thing, something, ceiling, whiting and duckling, etc.

Usage[edit]

One of the very few strict rules in English, i.e. no exception (or debate), is that of the need to use the -ing form of a verb, not its infinitive, after all prepositions. The only possible complication is deciding whether that to in the sentence is a preposition or an infinitive marker, in which case it obviously goes with an infinitive.


Spelling rules[edit]

  • Most verbs add -ing to the infinitive form. See Default below.
  • Verbs ending in e replace e by ing: like - liking; recieve - receiving
  • Verbs "dye" and "singe" don't drop the e: dyeing, singeing /ˈsɪndʒɪŋ/
  • In British English the "-ing" form of "age" is spelled "aging" or "ageing"BrE
  • Verbs ending in one stressed vowel + one consonant (except w, x or y) double the consonant and add -ing: planning; stopping; referring; controlling;
  • This rule also applies to the verb "program", even if it doesn't end in a stressed syllable: programming
  • In British English, the letter "l" is doubled after a single unstressed vowel: levellingBrE - levelingAmE; travellingBrE - travelingAmE
  • Verbs ending in -c add king: picknicking; trafficking;
  • Verbs ending in ie change their ending to "ying": die - dying; lie - lying; tie - tying;
  • Default. All other verbs add -ing.
  • Ending in one or more vowels (except final e): mooing; skiing;
  • Ending in two or more consonants: depending; pushing; starting;
  • Ending in two or more vowels + one consonant: explaining; raining;
  • Ending in one unstressed vowel + one consonant: editing; offering;
  • See exceptions above (program, and verbs ending in "l")
  • Ending in w, x or y: playing; enjoying; copying; flying; showing; taxing;

Present participle[edit]

See main article present participle.

Gerund[edit]

See main article Gerund.

A gerund is a noun, corresponding in most cases to an action or activity, such as smoking, reading or many sports (not games), such as swimming, weightlifting and fencing.

-ing form or infinitive[edit]

  • There are a number of verbs that can be followed by an -ing form or an infinitive, but there may be, in some cases, differences in meaning:
like (love, hate, prefer, can't stand/bear). I like to play; I like playing
start (begin, stop, continue). I started to eat; I started eating
allow (permit, forbid)
see (watch, hear)
forget (remember)
try (intend, propose, advise)
  • There are a number of verbs that are normally followed by an -ing form:
admit
can't help
enjoy
feel like. I feel like dancing
finish
look forward to
mind
  • There are a number of verbs that are normally followed by an infinitive:
expect. I expect to go
hope
learn

Used to[edit]

See main article Used to.

One especially clear case is the difference between used to + infinitive vs be used to + -ing form, at least regarding the structure (i.e. with be + used to we use the -ing form).

Adjectives[edit]

There are a number of frequently used adjectives that students should be made familiar with: amusing - annoying - boring - disappointing - exciting - frightening - interesting - shocking - surprising - terrifying - tiring - worrying. Care should be taken to avoid eventual confusion between, for example, be worrying and be worried, and, most especially be bored vs be boring, as in I'm bored... ing