Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Things and Feelings: Adjectives in the English Language

In the English language, there are two groups of adjectives that can cause problems for learners: those that end with either -ed or -ing. If you're familiar with English, you're undoubtedly aware that the -ed suffix is also often used with past participles, while the -ing suffix is used with gerunds.

However, these suffixes can alter the meaning of adjectives, so let's have a look at each of these two groups in isolation.

Something boring has made this emoji bored.
-ing

When you see adjectives like amazing, boring, interesting, and relaxing, they are generally used to explain a situation, a thing, and ultimately the cause of these emotions. For example:

  • The show was amazing.
  • Long car journeys are boring.
  • Documentaries are interesting.
  • I find classical music relaxing.
-ed

When those same roots are combined with -ed to get amazed, bored, excited, and relaxed, they describe how people feel and often describe the result of the -ing adjectives. For example:
  • I was amazed by the show.
  • I was bored during the long car journey.
  • I am interested in documentaries.
  • I feel relaxed when I listen to classical music.
Verbs

Remember that these -ing and -ed adjectives have corresponding verbs, e.g. to amaze, to bore, to interest, and to relax, which you can also use to transform sentences. For example:
  • The show amazes me.
  • Long car journeys bore me.
  • Documentaries interest me.
  • Classical music relaxes me.
Exceptions

Of course, with English being English, there are always exceptions. For example, scared exists, but the corresponding -ing adjective is scary, NOT scaring! There is also crazed but never crazing, only crazy.

Hopefully this post has made things a little clearer when it comes to how we form some of our adjectives in English!