“ING” words and when to use them

“ING words”

How confusing could those three little letters be?

“ING” can often feel like the suffix from hell, but to help you to better understand when and how to use “ING” words, I’ve made a list of some examples and rules.

The progressive tenses.

I am going to the store (right now).

I am traveling to Brazil this summer (near future).

I was walking down the street when I tripped and fell (past progressive, used when telling stories more effectively when two things happen at the same time).

Each progressive tense has a present, past, future, perfect forms.

After prepositions.

I got here by taking the boat.

**Can also avoid the gerund in this example by saying, “I got here by boat.”

The library is for studying only.

**A common mistake is to confuse this rule with Infinitives.

For example; We need to reading the directions

Should be; We need to read the directions. (When there are two verbs together (need & read), the second verb is in the infinitive (to read). This “to” is not a preposition.

When the verb is the subject of the sentence.

Reading is a lot of fun.

Learning English is my favorite activity.

Studying too much will drive you crazy.

After certain verbs

This rule is a bit more difficult, as you have to memorize which verbs are followed by gerunds. You will learn that some verbs can be followed by a gerund or an infinitive.

Common verbs followed by Gerunds Common words followed by a gerund or an infinitive
  • Avoid
  • Consider
  • Discuss
  • Enjoy
  • Dislike
  • Dread
  • Miss
  • Feel like
  • Consider
  • Discuss
  • Dislike
  • Dread
  • Miss
  • Feel like
·      Begin

·      Continue

·      Hate

·      Like

·      Love

·      Prefer

·      Start



Phrases with “have”, “spend” and “waste”

I had fun signing karaoke at your birthday party.

She generally spends all of her time playing video games.

I waste money buying useless clothes.

After Phrasal verbs

As noted before, use an “ing” word after a preposition. A phrasal verb is formed using verb + preposition, therefore the verb after will be in the “ing” form.

I gave up smoking after 10 years.

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

He put off completing the assignment, now he’s in trouble.

I’m used to waking up late on Saturdays.

After Go + sport/sport like activity

We are going swimming this weekend.

I have to go shopping before mother’s day.

He is going running tomorrow.

If you have a question about “ing” words, would like to see more articles like this one, or would like to contribute to my explanation, please write about it in the comments below.

As an Adjective

To describe how things make use feel, we can add “ing” to the verb.

The party was exciting.

The beach is relaxing.

The terrifying movie scared me.

For Practice and more explanations, check out these great websites:





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