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Present Participle - The -ing Verb

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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Every verb in the English language has a present participle, and you form it the same way for every verb: Just add ‑ing. Sometimes you’ll have to drop an ending silent ‑e, as in write and writing. Sometimes you’ll have to double up an ending consonant, as in begin and beginning or occur and occurring. But all present participles end in ‑ing, and for that reason, I have dubbed them the “‑ing verbs.”

What do ‑ing verbs do in our language? They serve some very important roles.

First of all, when we join them with the verb to be, we form what’s called the progressive tenses, illustrated above. This tense shows an ongoing action, as in:

We are studying grammar. We will be reviewing this matter tomorrow.

Second of all, the ‑ing verb can form a phrase that acts as an adjective, as in:

the player sitting next to the coach …. the song climbing to number one on the charts ….

Third, one-word ‑ing verbs form powerful adjectives, as in:

the smoking gun the controlling issue

Fourth, the ‑ing verb can act as a noun. When it does, it’s called a gerund. In the next two examples, the ‑ing verb acts as the subject of the sentence:

Winning the game became his ultimate objective. Practicing her swing each day improved her golf game.

These ‑ing verbs always show up in a powerful writing style, and we’ll return to study them further in the Grammar eBook Developing a Powerful Writing Style.

Hard Copy

You may download our entire discussion of the Parts of Speech. Simply download the Grammar eBook Understanding the Parts of Speech.


Previous: Finite Verb - Tense, Person, Number, Mood

Next: Past Participle - The -ed Verb

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    Identify the sentence with correct use of the gerund as the object of the preposition:
    A He is not capable of understanding the situation.
    B They are good at playing the guitar.
    C I am interested in reading books.
    D She avoids speaking in public.

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