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Vocabulary: Adjective Endings ‘ed’ and ‘ing’

How to choose between 'ed' & 'ing' adjective endings

When do we use the adjective endings ‘ed’ and  ‘ing’?

We make many adjectives from verbs in English.  For example, interested and interesting come from the verb ‘to interest’, and excited  and exciting come from the verb ‘to excite’.  But when do we use the adjective endings ‘ed’ and ‘ing?  In this post we’re going to look at adjectives and how to decide which ending to use.

We’ll start by reading this dialogue.  Two friends are discussing what films they’ve seen and comparing opinions.

Vally: Have you seen Bladerunner: The Director’s Cut? I thought it was so much more exciting than the first version, didn’t you?

Juan: Exciting? I was bored stiff! I’m just not interested in science fiction. I’ll tell you a film I really loved, though – The English Patient. It was so moving – I cried at the end.

Vally: Well, I wasn’t moved at all – it was just a load of sentimental rubbish!

Juan: How can you say that? It was great! And another good film I’ve seen recently was Iris – you know, the one about that writer who got Alzheimer’s disease?

Vally: Oh yes, that was good, but it was so depressing, wasn’t it?

Juan: No, I thought it was really very positive. Well, have you seen the second part of The Lord of the Rings yet? 

Vally: You mean The Two Towers? Yes, it’s brilliant!

Juan: Oh, did you think so? I was quite disappointed – I expected it to be better.

Vally: Really? It’s true that it was a bit confusing at times, trying to decide who was who, but I loved it.

Juan: And what about the Harry Potter films? I was surprised at how good they are – great special effects and they’re really quite amusing. They made me laugh a lot.

Vally: Yes – I can’t wait for the next one. Well, at least we’ve got one thing in common then!

First answer these questions: 

  1. Have Vally and Juan usually got the same taste in films?
  1. Find an expression that means very, very bored
  1. Now find a word that means emotional, touching

(Answers at the bottom of the page, but don’t look yet!

Now look at these extracts from the dialogue:

It was so much more exciting  

It was so moving   

It was so depressing     

It was a bit confusing

They’re really quite amusing    

I was bored

I’m just not interested

I wasn’t moved at all

I was quite disappointed

I was surprised

Complete these sentences to form the rules about using the adjective endings ‘ed’ and ‘ing’: 

4. When we talk about things or people that make us feel something, we use the adjective ending ____. 

5. But when we talk about how we feel, we use the adjective ending ____.


So now you’re ready to try the mini-test:  Adjective endings:  ‘ed’  and  ‘ing’


Answers: 1. No!     2. bored stiff      3. moving      4. ‘ing’        5. ‘ed’

Vocabulary Mini-Test: Adjective Endings '-ed' or '-ing'?

Choose the correct adjective to complete the sentences.

1 / 12

My brother’s wedding service was really __________. Everyone cried.

2 / 12

I couldn’t understand the grammar. I was totally __________.

3 / 12

Sally works for ten hours a day, so it’s not __________ that she fell asleep on the bus.

4 / 12

He was very __________ to fail all his exams.

5 / 12

Silvia's very funny! She tells lots of __________ stories.

6 / 12

I can’t eat this – it’s really __________!

7 / 12

This is a really __________ job.

8 / 12

I’m so ___________ after all that work!

9 / 12

She was very __________  by the terrible news.

10 / 12

Don’t invite Paul to the party – he’s so __________!

11 / 12

He was really __________ when he lost his job.

12 / 12

I saw a really __________ programme yesterday.

Your score is


To learn more about the format and question-types in the Aptis Test, go to Aptis Vocabulary Practice Test 1.

And for more practice on specific vocabulary points, go to Vocabulary: Make or Do.

5 thoughts on “Vocabulary: Adjective Endings ‘ed’ and ‘ing’”

    1. Still having problems with the site, and the tests aren’t working correctly on a mobile or tablet. They ARE working on a desktop computer, if you have access to one.Meanwhile, here are the answers:

      Adjective endings ed/ing answers

      1. moving
      2. confused
      3. surprising
      4. disappointed
      5. amusing
      6. disgusting
      7. tiring
      8. exhausted
      9. shocked
      10. boring
      11. depressed
      12. interesting

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