Common Mistakes with English ADJECTIVES 👉🏼 -ed and -ing endings

Lesson Overview

There are many English adjectives that have two forms – one that ends in -ed and one that ends in -ing

An adjective that ends in -ing is used to describe: the characteristic of a person, a thing or a situation.
For example: It is amazing, it is interesting, it is boring.

An adjective that ends in -ed is used to describe: a feeling or an emotion. It is used to describe a temporary thing.
If you say that something (or someone) is boring, that thing (or person) makes you feel bored!

Video Transcript

Hello! I’m Emma from mmmEnglish and in this lesson, we’re focusing on adjectives, but not just any adjectives…. Pairs of adjectives that can end in either -ed or -ing

Because you might be a little confused about when you can use each type of adjective:

Am I embarrassed?” or “Am I embarrassing?”

“Is he bored?” or “Is he boring?”

Lots of these English adjectives are made by adding -ed or -ing to a verb.

For example, the verb “frustrate” can become an adjective by adding -ed (frustrated) or -ing (frustrating).

These endings are called suffixes – and when we add them to the end of a verb, they transform our verb into an adjective. But… You need to know HOW to use each of these types of adjectives…

And we’re going to do that right now, right here in this lesson!

An adjective that ends in -ing is used to describe the characteristics of something, the characteristics of a person or a place or a thing or a situation.

  • It’s amazing.
  • It’s interesting.
  • It’s tiring.

Adjectives that end in -ed are used to describe an emotion or a feeling and it’s usually a temporary thing, something that only people can have generally. Only people have feelings, most of the time but some animals can also have feelings.

But you can’t use -ed adjectives to describe the feelings of a thing or of a situation because they don’t have feelings!

If you say that something (or someone) is boring, they or it makes you feel bored. So the thing or the person that is boring is what makes you feel bored.

  • It bores you.

OK, there’s our verb!

If you say that something is exciting, it makes you feel excited.

  • It excites you.

Did you notice any patterns in those examples?

If you are talking about a temporary feeling, or an emotion, then use the -ed form of the adjectives.

  • She’s bored.
  • They’re frightened.
  • I feel annoyed.
  • He’s so excited about his trip to Thailand.
  • She felt so annoyed that her friend let her down.

If you’re describing the thing (or the person) that caused those feelings, then use the -ing form of the verb.

For example.

  • That movie was strange. It was really confusing. It made me feel confused.

Let’s look at the difference again.

  • He’s bored.

So he’s not interested in what’s happening. He’s not having a good time. If he’s at a party perhaps he doesn’t like the music or he doesn’t really know anyone and he’s got noone to talk to.

  • He’s bored. He feels bored.

But if you say “He is boring it means he’s not an interesting person, that you don’t enjoy talking to him. He’s never got anything interesting to say.

  • He’s boring.
  • He makes me feel bored.

Alright it’s time to practise a little now. I’m going to read out a few sentences for you and I want you to try to choose if the adjective in each sentence is the correct adjective or not.


  • I am very exciting to see my sister.

What do you think?

It’s a “NO”! Incorrect answer!

  • I am very excited to see my sister.

It’s how I feel. I’m excited. I feel excited to see my sister.

  • I don’t understand these instructions – they’re so annoying!

Correct! The instructions are annoying. They’re making me feel annoyed.

  • I am so boring. I have got nothing to do.

I’m bored because I’ve got nothing to do. I feel bored.

  • I felt so embarrassing when I spilled tomato sauce down my dress on a date!
  • I felt so embarrassed! I felt embarrassed when I spilled tomato sauce down my dress on a date.
  • I hate being the centre of attention! It was so embarrassing when they called my name and I had to go up on stage.

It was embarrassing. The experience was embarrassing. I felt embarrassed.

  • Ugh! This coffee is disgusting! I can’t drink it!

OK I’ve made a worksheet for you so you can keep practising these adjectives after this lesson finishes. You can download it for free right here (this video features in the Grammar Challenge series) I want you to practise using these adjectives when you’re speaking, when you’re writing and when you’re listening to other people. Listen to how they’re used.

I’m also going to send you the answers to the worksheet, so that you know what you got right, what you need to improve. I hope that you enjoyed this lesson and if you are a subscriber to the mmmEnglish channel it’s awesome to see you again.

If you’re not a subscriber yet, then just click that red button right there and join me for the next lesson.

You can also find me on Facebook. You can check out some of my other videos right here, especially this one, my imitation lessons, which are a really fun and easy way to practice your English speaking skills.

That’s all from me today. I’m glad you joined me and I’ll see you next time. Bye for now! 

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