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–ed or –ing?

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It can sometimes be difficult to decide which form of the adjective to use: -ed or -ing. Do I say boring or bored? Here are the rules:


- ed describes someone's feelings:

I'm bored. Let's do something else. (I feel bored).
You seem bored. Would you like to go to the cinema? (I think you feel bored).

We use -ed for people only.


- ing describes a quality that someone or something has:

Our history professor is so old and boring! (He makes us feel bored).
That book was really boring. (The quality of the story).

We use -ing for both people and things.

Lesson by Nasreen, English teacher at EC Cape Town

Now choose the correct form of the adjective to complete these pairs of sentences:

  • 1a. Could you please explain that to me? I'm __.

  • 1b. I find prepositions very __.

  • 2a. Three hours! That walk was __!

  • 2b. I’ve been studying all weekend. I'm __.

  • 3a. Carol is so __. She's been to so many places and done so many things!

  • 3b. Are you __ in coming to the exhibition with me?

  • 4a. The view from our suite is __!

  • 4b. I was absolutely __ when I saw his paintings!

  • 5a. Listening to her complaining all the time is so __.

  • 5b. James is too __ to go out tonight.

  • 6a. You look __! Do you have news?

  • 6b. What's the most __ place you've visited?

  • 7a. Simon looks __. He's not speaking to anyone.

  • 7b. You must have found his attitude __.

  • 8a. That was a __ ending to a lovely film.

  • 8b. We were __ when he told us he couldn't come anymore.

  • 9a. I wasn't __ when he told me he'd passed. He'd studied so hard.

  • 9b. It's not __ that she doesn’t want to go.

  • 10a. For me, snakes are the most __ creatures.

  • 10b. The __ little girl ran away from the spider.