-ing Form

We make the -ing form by adding -ing to the base verb and adjusting the spelling as necessary:

We use the -ing form in various ways as shown below.

-ing Form for Continuous Tenses

The -ing form is used in past, present and future continuous tenses, for example:

-ing Form as Subject, Object or Complement

We can use the -ing form as the subject, object or complement of a clause, for example:

Sometimes the -ing form can also have an object itself. In this case, the whole expression [-ing + object] can be the subject, object or complement of a clause or sentence.

-ing Form with Adjectives and Determiners

Note that when we use the -ing form with an adjective or determiner, it does not usually take a direct object. Compare these sentences:

-ing Form after Preposition

If we want to use a verb after a preposition, it must be in -ing form. It is impossible to use an infinitive after a preposition. So, for example, we say:

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-ing Form after Certain Verbs

We sometimes use one verb after another verb. Often the second verb is in the to-infinitive form, for example:

But sometimes the second verb must be in -ing form, for example:

This depends on the first verb. Here is a list of verbs that are usually followed by a verb in -ing form:

Look at these examples:

Some verbs can be followed by the -ing form OR the to-infinitive form without a big change in meaning: begin, continue, hate, intend, like, love, prefer, propose, start
  • I like to play tennis. / I like playing tennis.
  • It started to rain. / It started raining.

-ing Form in Passive Sense

We often use the -ing form after the verbs need, require and want.

In this case, the -ing form has a passive sense.

Look at these example sentences. Notice that this construction can be in any tense:

Note that the expression "something wants doing" is used more in British English than in American English.