Explanations » B1+ Grammar Explanations » Participles as adjectives (-ed / -ing adjectives)
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  • -ed/-ing adjectives

    Participial adjectives can be distinguished by their endings, either -ed or -ing.  They come from verbs, and they are called participial adjectives because they have the same endings as verb participles.

    Original verbs

    Many verbs that we can use to express feelings or emotions can be turned into adjectives.

    • Walking up the stairs tires me too much. I’ll take the elevator. (from tire ⇒ tired/tiring)
    • You are boring me. Please stop talking. (from bore ⇒ bored/boring)
    • The announcement surprised everyone. (from surprise ⇒ surprised/surprising)

    -ed adjectives

    -ed adjectives are used to describe how people feel. They cannot be used with things because things have no emotions.

    • We’re tired. Can we stop running?
    • I’m bored. Let’s play cards.
    • I was surprised to see her.

    -ing adjectives

    -ing adjectives are used to talk about the things or people that produce those feelings in people.

    • Running is very tiring. We don’t want to run.
    • This film is very boring. Let’s play cards.
    • Her visit was very surprising. We weren’t expecting her.

    Note that a few of these adjectives don’t have an -ing ending; they have an irregular form:

    • offended ⇒ offensive (NOT offending blank)
    • stressed ⇒ stressful (NOT stressing blank)
    • delighted ⇒ delightful
    • impressed ⇒ impressive
    • scared ⇒ scary

    The following are some of the most common verbs expressing feelings and emotions and their present and past participial forms.

    Color-coded chart demonstrating how to form -ed and -ing adjectives from verbs, with three columns showing the base verb, the adjective that describes the feeling it inspires, and the adjective describing how someone feels