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Adjectives ending in ED and ING

English Grammar Notes

There are many adjectives that we have in English that end in -ED or -ING.
Yes, that's correct, they are not only endings that we use for verbs!

An adjective that ends in -ING is used to describe: the characteristic of a person or

a thing.

An adjective that ends in -ED is used to describe: a feeling.

Compare the difference:

 My girlfriend is bored. - (My girlfriend feels bored)

 My girlfriend is boring. - (My girlfriend is a boring person)

You can use these adjectives to describe people or situations but be careful that you
are using the correct adjective. For example, there is a big difference in meaning

 I am confused. - (I don't understand something)

 I am confusing. - (I will cause you to be confused)

Of course, you could also find both adjectives in the same sentence. Then you really
need to concentrate on the intent / context of the sentence.


 I was shocked by how shocking the accident was last night.

 They were frightened by the frightening roller-coaster ride!

 I am annoyed by how annoying that person in front of us is.

 Sally was confused by the confusing street signs in the city.

Adjectives ending in -ed and –ing

-ed and –ing adjectives

Adjectives that end ‘-ed’ (e.g. ‘bored’, ‘interested’) and adjectives that end ‘-ing’ (e.g.
‘boring’, ‘interesting’) are often confused.

-ed adjectives

Adjectives that end ‘-ed’ describe emotions – they tell us how people feel about

 I was very bored in the maths lesson. I almost fell asleep.

 He was surprised to see Helen. She’d told him she was going to Australia.

 Feeling tired and depressed, he went to bed.

-ing adjectives

Adjectives that end ‘-ing’ describe the thing that causes the emotion – a boring lesson
makes you feel bored.

 Have you seen that film? It’s absolutely terrifying.

 I could listen to him for hours. He’s one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

 I can’t eat this! It’s disgusting! What is it?

Remember that people can be boring but only if they make other people feel bored.

 He talks about the weather for hours. He’s so boring.

 NOT I was very boring at the party so I went home.

Here are some more adjectives that can have both an ‘-ed’ and an ‘-ing’ form

 amused
 amusing

 annoyed

 annoying

 confused
 confusing

 disappointed

 disappointing

 excited

 exciting

 exhausted

 exhausting

 frightened

 frightening

 satisfied

 satisfying

 shocked

 shocking

'-ed' adjectives
Adjectives that end in -ed are used to describe how people feel:
'He was surprised to find that he had been upgraded to first class.'
'I was confused by the findings of the report.'
'She felt tired after working hard all day.'

'-ing' adjectives
Adjectives that end in -ing are used to describe things and situations. Compare these
example sentences to the ones above:
'Being upgraded to first class is surprising.'
The findings of this report are confusing.'
'Working hard all day is tiring.'

A lot of adjectives are made from verbs by adding -ing or -ed:

-ing adjectives:

The commonest -ing adjectives are:

amusing shocking surprising frightening

interesting disappointing exciting tiring

worrying boring terrifying annoying

If you call something interesting you mean it interests you.

If you call something frightening you mean it frightens you.

I read a very interesting article in the newspaper today.

That Dracula film was absolutely terrifying.

-ed adjectives:

The commonest –ed adjectives are:

annoyed bored frightened worried

tired closed excited delighted


If something annoys you, you can say you feel annoyed. If something interests you,
you can say you are interested.

The children had nothing to do. They were bored.