Derivation: forming adjectives with -ed and -ing

Usually when we think about ed and ing as suffixes we think of these endings as corresponding to verbs: the ed ending for the past tense and the ing ending for the present participle. As in:

I waited all day for the results / I am waiting for the results

The aforementioned suffixes however can also be appended to words to form adjectives. Think of the following examples:

There are many, many other examples of adjectives that end in ed and ing and they are commonplace in everyday speech and use. When using them, however, keep in mind that each of these suffixes carry a different meaning. Compare the following:

Adjectives ending in ed express how a person feels about something:

She was fascinated by the painting.
He was bored during the show.
They were interested in the talk.

Instead, adjectives ending in ing describe the person or thing that produces the feeling:

The painting was fascinating (and it fascinated her)
The show was boring (and he was bored by it)
The talk was interesting (and they were interested in it)

Finally, keep in mind that not all verbs will allow appending both these suffixes to form adjectives. When in doubt, it’s always wise to consult a trusty dictionary.

This entry was posted in Derivation, Grammar & Use of English, Language, Vocabulary. Bookmark the permalink.

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