Verb -ing

Introduction to 'Verb -ing'

The English language consists of a range of complex grammatical rules and constructs. An essential aspect that we often come across is the '-ing' form of the verb, otherwise known as the present participle. Having a grasp of how to use verb-ing forms can significantly improve your proficiency and fluency in the English language.

Understanding the 'Verb -ing' Form

The 'verb -ing' is a verb form that ends in '-ing'. It is used in different grammatical structures to serve various functions, from being the main verb of a sentence to acting as a noun or an adjective. It is often used to indicate ongoing action or state of being.


  • Running is my favourite activity. (Running is used as a noun)

  • I am writing a tutorial. (Writing is used as the main verb)

  • I saw a smiling child. (Smiling is used as an adjective)

Types of 'Verb -ing'

The '-ing' form of verbs essentially falls into three primary categories:

1. Gerunds

A gerund is a verb in its '-ing' form that functions as a noun. It can be used as the subject, object, or complement of a sentence. Gerunds often express activities or actions.


  • Swimming keeps me fit. (Swimming is the subject of the sentence)

  • I love reading. (Reading is the object of the sentence)

2. Present Participles

The present participle is another '-ing' form of the verb. It is primarily used with the auxiliary verb 'to be' to form the continuous tense. It can also work as an adjective in a sentence.


  • I am studying for my exams. (Studying is used to form the present continuous tense)

  • The barking dog scared the postman. (Barking is used as an adjective)

3. The '-ing' form as Adjectives

Often, the '-ing' form of verbs can function as adjectives. Such instances commonly describe the cause or source of a feeling.


  • The movie was thrilling. (Thrilling is used as an adjective to describe the movie)

Rules for Using the 'Verb -ing'

While using the verb '-ing' form, keep these general rules in mind:

  • If the verb ends in 'e', drop the 'e' and add '-ing'. For example, "drive" becomes "driving".

  • If the verb is a single syllable word ending in consonant-vowel-consonant, double the last consonant and add '-ing'. For example, "run" becomes "running". This rule doesn't apply if the final consonant is 'w', 'x' or 'y'. For example, "play" becomes "playing", not "playying".

  • If the verb ends in 'ie', change the 'ie' to 'y' and add '-ing'. For example, "lie" becomes "lying".

Common Mistakes

Using the 'verb -ing' form can sometimes be tricky, leading to common mistakes. Here are a few errors to avoid:

  • Mistake: I look forward to see you. Correction: I look forward to seeing you.

  • Mistake: We discussed about going to the movie. Correction: We discussed going to the movie.

The correct usage of the 'verb -ing' form plays a crucial role in ensuring that you come across as a proficient English speaker or writer. Keep practicing these rules and forms until you are comfortable with them and they come naturally.

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