English language learners often confuse adjectives with “ed” and “ing” endings.  Be careful that you don’t mix up “bored” & “boring” or you might insult someone.

Adjectives with ED endings describe feelings, whereas adjectives with ING endings describe a quality or characteristic of a thing or person.  So if you can use the words “I feel” or “she feels”, use an ED ending on your adjective.

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Let me give you some examples of when to use an “ed” ending as opposed to an “ing” ending:  I feel bored because this movie is boring.

I’m really confused.  Calculus is so confusing and the teacher is boring.

So ED endings can only be used to talk about a person’s feelings. Things don’t have feelings, so don’t use ED adjectives to describe things.

People can be described with either the ED or ING adjective, but the meaning is different.  Let’s compare these 2 sentences.

  • Jack is bored.
  • Jack is boring.
  • “Jack is bored” is the same as “Jack is feeling bored”.
  • Jack is boring means that he is not an interesting person. You probably don’t want to talk to him, because he will make you feel bored. Got it?

Here is a list of common words that have both ed & ing forms:

  • amazed/amazing
  • annoyed/annoying
  • bored/boring
  • confused/confusing
  • disappointed/disappointing
  • excited/exciting
  • frustrated/frustrating
  • interested/interesting
  • surprised/surprising
  • tired/tiring

Create some sentences with each of them right now, so you don’t forget.  Then go out and use them.