Look at these 2 sentences:
Yesterday, I watched an interesting film about football. I am very interested in football.
“interesting” and “interested” are both adjectives.
Adjectives modify nouns (things or people). Adjectives therefore give us more information about nouns.
“interesting” and “interested“ look very similar but they have different meanings and uses.
Now look at these 3 sentences:
Jane didn’t like the film. She was bored. Jane thinks that football is boring.
“boring” and “bored” are also both adjectives.
“boring” and “bored” look similar but they have different meanings.
This lesson is about ING and ED adjectives that are related to feelings.
- The origin of both types of adjective and how they are formed
- The meaning and use of ED adjectives
- The meaning and use of ING adjectives
- Examples of the most common ING and ED adjectives
The origin of ING and ED adjectives
In this lesson, we are only discussing adjectives related to feelings because they confuse students. They confuse students because they have both an ING form and an ED form.
ING and ED adjectives are formed from verbs.
verb: to interest
(Example: Football interests me.)
How ING adjectives are formed
The ING adjective is formed by adding ing to the base form of the verb:
interest > interesting
This ING form is called the present participle. We are using it as an adjective.
I watched an interesting film.
How ED adjectives are formed
The ED adjective is formed by adding ed to the end of the verb:
interest > interested
This ED form is called the past participle. We are using it as an adjective.
I am very interested in football.
ING adjectives of feeling: Meaning and use
I watched an interesting film about football.
Remember, the origin of the adjective “interesting” is the verb “interest“
An ING adjective describes the cause of the feeling.
An ING adjective describes the source of the feeling.
What is the source or cause of the interest? It is the film. (The film interests me)
We use the ING adjective to describe it (“interesting film”)
ING adjectives of feeling can describe people (or animals):
I like Mark because he is interesting.
The cat doesn’t like to play. It is very boring.
ING adjectives of feeling can also describe things:
The film was boring.
London is an exciting city.
ED adjectives of feeling: Meaning and use
I am very interested in football.
Remember, the origin of the adjective “interested” is the verb “interest“
An ED adjective describes the person (or animal) who has the feeling.
Who is feeling the interest? It is me! (football interests me)
The ED adjective describes my feeling (“I am very interested in football.”)
ED adjectives of feeling only describe people (or sometimes animals):
Mark is excited because he is going to London next week.
The dog was very excited when it saw Mark.
ED adjectives of feeling do not describe things because things do not have feelings or emotions:
The film was bored.
London is an excited city.
Summary of rules for ING and ED adjectives
To describe a thing
We use an ING adjective to describe the source of a feeling.
Examples: interesting film, exciting city, boring book
Do not use an ED adjective to describe a feeling for a thing.
To describe a person (or animal)
We use an ING adjective if the person or animal is the source of a feeling
She is boring
The dog is frightening
We use an ED adjective if the person or animal is having the feeling.
He is interested in politics
She is bored
The dog is frightened.
Why students confuse ING and ED adjectives
Students make mistakes because both ING and ED adjectives can be used for people / animals.
The cat is frightening. (grammatically correct)
The cat is frightened. (grammatically correct)
Both sentences are correct but the meaning is very different! Look at the photo below to see the difference in meaning:
Tip to choose ING or ED adjective
Is the noun a “thing” (not a person or animal)? If yes, then choose an ING adjective
For a person or animal:
Is the person / animal the source or cause of the feeling? If yes, then choose an ING adjective.
Is the person / animal having the feeling? If yes, then choose an ED adjective.
Common ING and ED adjectives
Here is a list of common adjectives of feeling with an ING and ED form: