'-ing' forms

`-ing' forms are also called present participles. Most `-ing' forms are formed by adding `-ing' to the base form of a verb, for example `asking', `eating', and `passing'. Sometimes there is a change in spelling, as in `dying', `making', and `putting'. For a table showing these changes, see entry at ↑ Verbs.
For information about `-ing' forms used as adjectives, see entry at ↑ '-ing' adjectives.
For the use of `-ing' forms in sentences such as `It was difficult saying goodbye', see entry at ↑ it.
One common use of `-ing' forms is as part of continuous tenses of verbs.

He was sleeping in the other room.

Cathy has been looking at the results.

See entries at ↑ Tenses and ↑ Continuous tenses.
after verbs
When you are talking about someone's behaviour in relation to an action, or their attitude towards doing it, you often use a verb followed by a clause beginning with an `-ing' form (an `-ing' clause.)

He wisely avoided mentioning the incident to his boss.

They enjoy working together.

You must keep trying.

The following verbs can be followed by an `-ing' clause:
admit, adore, avoid, commence, consider, delay, deny, describe, detest, dislike, dread, enjoy, fancy, finish, imagine, involve, keep, mind, miss, postpone, practise, recall, resent, resist, risk, stop, suggest
`Need', `require', and `want' can be followed by an `-ing' form which has a passive meaning. For example, if you say that something `needs doing', you mean that it needs to be done.

It needs dusting.

The beans want picking.

`Deserve' and `merit' are also sometimes used in this way.
choice of '-ing' form and 'to'-infinitive
After some verbs, you can use an `-ing' clause or a `to'-infinitive clause without greatly changing the meaning.

It started raining soon after we set off.

Then it started to rain.

Here are some common verbs which can be followed by an `-ing' clause or a `to'-infinitive clause:
begin, bother, cease, continue, deserve, hate, intend, like, love, prefer, start
after the object of a verb
Some verbs, particularly verbs of perception, are used with an object and an `-ing' clause. The `-ing' clause indicates what the person or thing referred to by the object is doing.

I saw him looking at me.

The following verbs are commonly used with an object and an `-ing' clause:
catch, feel, find, hear, imagine, keep, leave, listen to, notice, observe, picture, prevent, save, see, send, spot, stop, watch
Some of these verbs can also be used with an object and an infinitive without `to'. See entry at ↑ Infinitives.
'-ing' forms after conjunctions
You can use `-ing' forms after some subordinating conjunctions, with no subject or auxiliary. Note that you can only do this when the subject would be the same as the one in the main clause, or when it is not specific.

I deliberately didn't read the book before going to see the film.

When buying a new car, it is best to seek expert advice.

See entry at ↑ Subordinate clauses.
separate '-ing' clauses
When you are describing two actions done by the same person at about the same time, you can use an `-ing' clause in front of the main clause. You can also put the `-ing' clause after the main clause, if it is clear who the subject is.

Walking down Newbury Street, they spotted the same man again.

He looked at me, suddenly realising that he was talking to a stranger.

If you want to indicate that someone did one thing immediately after another, you can mention the first thing they did in an `-ing' clause in front of the main clause.

Leaping out of bed, he dressed so quickly that he put his boots on the wrong feet.

You should not use an `-ing' clause in front of a main clause when the subject of the `-ing' clause is not the same as the subject of the main clause. If you say `Driving home later that night, the streets were deserted', you are suggesting that the streets were driving.
However, if the verb in the main clause is transitive and active, you can use an `-ing' clause which relates to the object after the main clause. For example, you could say `They spotted the same man again, walking down Newbury Street', meaning that the man was walking down Newbury Street. You should try to avoid making your sentence ambiguous.
active meaning
When an `-ing' form is used to begin a clause, it has an active meaning.

`You could play me a tune,' said Simon, sitting down.

Glancing at my clock, I saw that it was midnight.

Combinations beginning with `having' are sometimes used, especially in writing. For example, instead of writing `John, who had already eaten, left early', you could write `John, having already eaten, left early'.

Ash, having forgotten his fear, had become bored and restless.

Having beaten Rangers the previous week, Aberdeen were entitled to be confident about their ability to cope with Celtic.

passive meaning
`-ing' clauses beginning with `having been' and a past participle have a passive meaning.

Having been declared insane, he was confined for four months in a prison hospital.

subject and '-ing' form
In writing, you can use a clause containing a subject and an `-ing' form when you want to mention a fact or situation that is relevant to the fact stated in the main clause, or is the reason for it.

Bats are surprisingly long-lived creatures, some having a life-expectancy of around twenty years.

Her eyes glistening with tears, she stood up and asked the Council: `What am I to do?'

Ashton being dead, the whole affair must now be laid before Colonel Browne.

The subject having been opened, he had to go on with it.

You do this when the subject of the `-ing' clause is closely connected with the subject of the main clause, or when the `-ing' form is `being' or `having'.
`With' is sometimes added at the beginning of clauses of this type.

The old man stood up with tears running down his face.

`With' is always used when the two subjects are not closely connected and the `-ing' form is not `being' or `having'.

With the conditions increasing from breezy to windy, she had plenty of chances to show off her control.

Our correspondent said it resembled a frontline city, with helicopters patrolling overhead.

after a noun
You can use an `-ing' clause after a noun, `those', or an indefinite pronoun to identify or describe someone by saying what they do or are doing.

She is now a British citizen working for the Medical Research Council.

Many of those crossing the river had brought books.

Anyone following this advice could find himself in trouble.

The `-ing' clause has a similar function to a relative clause.
used like nouns
You can use `-ing' forms like nouns. When used like this, they are sometimes called gerunds or verbal nouns. They can be the subject, object, or complement of a clause.

Does slow talking point to slow mental development?

...policemen who regarded unnecessary walking as inherently suspicious.

His hobby was collecting old coins.

They can be used after prepositions, including `to'.

They get a considerable thrill from taking it home and showing it to their parents.

Local corner shops object to seeing their more expensive personal service undermined by cut-price supermarket-style selling.

When you are not using a determiner in front of an `-ing' form, the `-ing' form can have a direct object. When you are using a determiner, you use `of' to introduce the object.

I somehow didn't get round to taking the examination.

India now retain only a remote chance of winning the trophy.

What you've just heard was an interview recorded during the making of Karel Reisz's film.

...charges relating to the illegal taking of wild birds' eggs.

The object of the verb is put in front of the `-ing' form to form a compound noun if you are referring to a common type of activity, such as a type of job or hobby.

He regarded film-making as the most glamorous job on earth.

As a child, his interests were drawing and stamp collecting.

Note that you use a singular form for the object. For example, you refer to `stamp collecting', not `stamps collecting'.
You can use an `-ing' form with a possessive. This is rather formal.

Your being in the English department means that you must have chosen English as your main subject.

`I think my mother's being American had considerable advantage,' says Lady Astor's son.

You can use an `-ing' form in a similar way with a pronoun or noun. This is less formal.

What do you reckon on the prospects of him being re-elected?

A few nouns ending in `-ing', particularly ones referring to leisure activities, are not related to verbs but are formed from other nouns, or are much commoner than the related verbs.
ballooning, caravanning, hang-gliding, pot-holing, power-boating, skateboarding, skydiving, tobogganing

Camping and caravanning are increasingly cost-attractive.

Skateboarding has come back with a vengeance.

other uses
A few `-ing' forms are used as subordinating conjunctions:
assuming, considering, presuming, providing, supposing

The payments would gradually increase to £1,298, assuming interest rates stayed the same.

Supposing you heard that I'd died in the night, what would you feel?

A few `-ing' forms are used as prepositions or in compound prepositions:
according to, barring, concerning, considering, depending on, excepting, excluding, following, including, owing to, regarding

The property tax would be set according to the capital value of the home.

There seems no reason why, barring accidents, Carson should not surpass the late Doug Smith's total.

We had already closed the party down shortly after midnight, following complaints from residents.


Useful english dictionary. 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • forms of action — n. The categories of legal actions available under common law, such as trespass, debt, etc., and divided into actions at equity and actions at law; now all forms of action are gathered together under the Rules of Civil Procedure into the single… …   Law dictionary

  • Forms of address in the United Kingdom — Forms of address used in the United Kingdom are given below.Several terms have been abbreviated in the table below. The forms used in the table are given first, followed by alternative acceptable abbreviations in parentheses.Abbreviations*His/Her …   Wikipedia

  • forms of action — governed common law pleading and were the procedural devices used to give expression to the theories of liability recognized by the common law. Failure to analyze the cause of action properly, to select the proper theory of liability and to… …   Black's law dictionary

  • Forms of activity and interpersonal relations — in sociology can be described as follows: first and most basic are animal like behaviors, i.e. various physical movements of the body. Then there are actions movements with a meaning and purpose. Then there are social behaviors, which are… …   Wikipedia

  • Forms — Oracle Forms ist einer der Kern Komponenten der Oracle Developer Suite und erlaubt die WYSIWYG Erstellung sowie die Programmierung von Datenbank gestützten, interaktiven Dialogmasken. Neben der Oracle Datenbank werden auch diverse andere SQL… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Forms of juggling — This is an outline of the most popular forms of juggling as practiced by amateur, non performing, hobby jugglers. This list is based on the current trends in the Western world (Europe and North America) for ball, club and ring juggling, and is… …   Wikipedia

  • forms — The theory of forms is probably the most characteristic, and most contested of the doctrines of Plato . In the background lie the Pythagorean conception of form as the key to physical nature, but also the sceptical doctrine associated with… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Forms —    One great objection brought against the Episcopal Church by many persons not members of it is what they call forms and ceremonies. They say what they want is spiritual religion, and this objection seems to be so final with them there is… …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Forms of cricket — Various forms of cricket exist and the sport may broadly be divided between major and minor versions. Major cricket includes several variations in which top class players have taken part such as Test cricket, first class cricket, single wicket,… …   Wikipedia

  • Forms of nonmonogamy — Nonmonogamy is a blanket term covering several different types of interpersonal relationship in which some or all participants have multiple marital, sexual, and/or romantic partners. This can be contrasted with its opposite which is monogamy and …   Wikipedia

  • Forms of ownership — A form of ownership is the manner in which * an undertaking or enterprise is managed and controlled; * capital is contributed; * risks are borne; * profits are divided; and * legal personality affects the business.ole… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.