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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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