Grammar practice: adjectives in -ed and -ing

[This post has been written with ESL/EFL students in mind, CEFR level B1 and above.]


Are you bored or boring? Was the last film you saw interested or interesting

There are many adjectives in English that can be used with the endings -ed and -ing, and students sometimes confuse them. If you are unsure when to use which, this post is for you!

ADJECTIVES IN -ED

These adjectives usually express emotions. Use them when you want to say how someone feels:

I am so bored today.

Mark is very interested in languages.

He is terrified.

We were amazed by that new exhibition.

John was surprised to see her there.

All these adjectives refer to the subject of the sentence – a person who feels a certain way.

ADJECTIVES IN -ING

These adjectives refer to the nouns (or pronouns) used for things that cause the emotion:

This lesson is very boring.

Languages are very interesting.

That horror film is terrifying!

The exhibition was amazing!

It was surprising to see him there.

As you can see, here the focus is on the thing that causes the emotion – what is that thing like. It only indirectly tells us how people feel about it.

To do a bit of grammar practice on this topic, try this twenty-question grammar quiz

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