Verb + -ing, Gerunds, and Particles

Introduction to Verb + -ing, Gerunds and Particles

English language grammar can sometimes seem challenging and intimidating, especially when considering the many quirks and complexities of verb conjugation and usage. In this tutorial, we will be discussing an interesting facet of English language verb usage: the Verb + -ing form, and two key concepts that arise from it: Gerunds and Particles.

Verb + -ing Form

Commonly known as the present participle, the verb + -ing form is used in a variety of contexts in the English grammar. Here are the most common places where you will encounter this form.

Continuous Tenses

Perhaps the most common usage is in continuous or progressive tenses, where this form is used to denote an ongoing action in the past, present, or future. The verb 'be' is used as an auxiliary verb along with the main verb’s -ing form.

For example:

  • I am writing a grammar guide.
  • He was eating when I called.
  • They will be moving to Spain next month.

As Adjectives

Verbs in the -ing form can also serve as adjectives, describing a noun. In this case, they describe the effect that the noun has on someone’s feelings.

For example:

  • An exciting movie
  • A boring lecture
  • A frightening experience


The -ing form of a verb often serves as a noun, especially when talking about the action or process that the verb denotes. This usage is known as a gerund.


A gerund is a noun made from a verb by adding "-ing". The gerund form of the verb "read" is "reading". You can use a gerund as the subject, the complement, or the object of a sentence.

As Subjects

Gerunds are often used as a subject of a sentence when an action is being described as the focus of the sentence.

For example:

  • Reading helps you learn English.
  • Skiing is my favorite sport.

As Objects

Gerunds can also follow prepositions or phrasal verbs in a sentence.

For example:

  • She is good at dancing.
  • I am looking forward to meeting you.

After Certain Verbs

Some verbs in the English language are followed by gerunds.

For example:

  • He enjoys swimming.
  • We decided on going for a movie.


A particle is a word that does not change its form through inflection and does not fit easily into the established system of parts of speech. Particles can often be mistaken for prepositions or adverbs, but they can have a different function. Often, particles are used in two-word (phrasal) verbs.

For example:

  • Turn off the light. (Here, the verb is 'turn off', and 'off' is the particle)
  • Give up. ('Give up' is the phrasal verb, and 'up' is the particle)

Particles in Verb + -ing Form

Particles can be combined with the verb + -ing form, often with a different or specific meaning.

For example:

  • Breaking down the grammar rules is essential for understanding them. (Here, 'breaking down' is the phrasal verb in the -ing form)
  • They were looking forward to starting their journey. ('looking forward to' is the phrasal verb, and 'starting' is the jest of their anticipation)
  • The meeting was put off due to unforeseen circumstances. (Here, 'put off' means postponed)

This concludes our tutorial on the Verb + -Ing form, Gerunds and Particles. It's important to familiarize yourself with these grammar concepts to enhance your English language comprehension and expression, whether written or spoken.

Leave a Reply