Verbs and nouns with "-ed" and "-ing"

Questions from teachers about English grammar and usage

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Verbs and nouns with "-ed" and "-ing"

Unread post by BCOMDave » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:43 am


Firstly, I'm not a formal teacher of English, however, I have helped out with a number of people and their learning of ESL. I hope that I'm not contibuting too much to the 'bastardisation' of the English language with an incorrect explanation, so I'd like, please, some advice about this

I was recently asked:

Why in this sentence, “Like my father, I am interested in sport” do you use interest +ed and not +ing?

My reply was:

Ok there are a few things here.
“Interest” is defined differently in British and US dictionaries. In the US they consider it to be both a noun and when combined with “-ing” as a transitive verb. The British English view is that it is a noun and it is changed in to an “adjective” – a word that adds description to a noun or pronoun. We were told that the: “-ing is the thing!”. “The sport is interesting”, or “The book is interesting”. “Interesting” gives description about the subject. In these cases the sport or the book. Not, “The sport is interested”.

The “ed” ending refers to the person who feels the interest. So, in your sentence it is you who “feels” the interest. Maybe the thing (sport) is not actually interesting to others. Maybe it’s easier to understand as, “Like my father, I feel interested in sport.”, or “...I have an interest in sport” – even though we don’t usually say this. “Ed” is also a contraction (short form) for the English name “Edward”. So, we were taught in school that, “-ing is the thing, and Ed is the doer.” “Do-er” the one who does. The same rule applies with other nouns about feelings that form “adjectives of feelings.”
Example, Embarrass - Embarrassing, Embarrassed, Shock - Shocking, shocked, Disappoint - Disappointing, disappointed, Please - Pleasing, pleased, Amaze - Amazing, amazed, Bore - Boring, bored,
You also have to understand the difference between “Subject” and “Object”. The general form of a sentence clause is “Subject” + “predicate”. Predicate contains the verb and other words that describe something about the subject or an object, e.g. The Boy [subject] kicks [verb] the ball [object] and in your clause, “I” is a subject – the thing that does and “am” is the verb and sport is the “object”.

So, “Interest” is a noun. – I have an interest (in sports). This is changed into an adjective by adding the ending (suffix) “ed” to make an adjective (called a past participle) that describes the subject.
So, “...I [subject] am [verb] interested[adjective about the subject "I"] in sport[object].”
Or, “...I [subject] feel [verb] that sport [object] is interesting [adjective about the object].
Lastly, why? Because those are the rules! - :-) I'm sorry I have no better explanation.

Friend’s answer:

I still don't understand why in this sentence (Like my Father, I am interested in sport) they add to the verb interest ed? Why don't you add ing ? The rule [but I don’t know from where she got this] said that after (am) to the verb add (ing). Why ? Why don't you say ( Like my father, I am interesting in sport.) ? Could you please explain it better?

I think the confusion here is that my friend is interpreting “interest” as a verb and then trying to make a present continuous form out of it by adding “-ing”.

My problem then, which I would like some more professional help with, is how do I explain this better, or more importantly, more simply? After 50 years, while it's easy enough to say, how it should be, it not always so easy to explain why.

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.


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Re: Verbs and nouns with "-ed" and "-ing"

Unread post by Syl » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:42 pm

Hello Dave,

After a small search, I found a site with the best explanation. And the reason that I prefer a simple one is that pupils won't understand English through complicated terms like "gerund" and others. I prefer a simple and direct example and this is the best I found:

-ED adjectives are used to talk about a person’s feelings or opinions. (These are the receivers of feelings)
-ING adjectives are used to describe things, people, places, activities. (These are the sources of the feelings)
I have found it here: ... d-ing.html

Good luck :)

Syl's English Corner - Learn English and Have Fun

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Re: Verbs and nouns with "-ed" and "-ing"

Unread post by BCOMDave » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:34 am

Thank you very much for your help.

Kind regards and a Happy New Year to you.

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