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14 / 04 / 2004

-ED ADJECTIVES vs. -ING ADJECTIVES: meaning and examples

Good morning.

Do you know what the difference between the following sentences is?

A) John is bored.
B) John is boring.

In (A) John feels bored, perhaps because he has nothing interesting to do. (B) means that John is a boring person.

In English there are a lot of adjectives that are derived from verbs and they often have an -ing form and an -ed form:

Amazed / Amazing
Bored / Boring
Embarrassed / Embarrassing
Frightened / Frightening
Puzzled / Puzzling
Surprised / Surprising
Excited / Exciting
Interested / Interesting
Irritated / Irritating
Relaxed / Relaxing
Thrilled / Thrilling

In general, the -ed adjectives are used with people to describe how they feel. The -ing adjectives are used to describe things.

In sentence (B) above, it's almost as if we were treating John as a boring thing.

Look at some more examples below; although they are somewhat unnatural, they attempt to show the differences between the two types of adjectives.

Example 1
Jack is an interesting person, but he's not interested in appearing on the TV programme.

Example 2
I feel much more relaxed after a very relaxing holiday.

Example 3
He was very embarrassed; but I understand him. It was a very embarrassing situation.

Again, these examples are a little forced and unnatural, but I think they make the point. I hope these examples are not confusing because I wouldn't want you to be more confused than you were before reading this Daily Vitamin.

If you are still puzzled about how these adjectives are used, please leave a comment below. And please don't forget to forward this interesting message to anyone who you know that might be interested in receiving the Daily Vitamin.

I hope you have an exciting day!