Did you know that there are at least four different ways to use the -ing form of verbs in English?
You might already know one or two of these, but after today’s lesson you’ll have a more complete understanding of when we use verbs in the -ING form, like reading, watching, and so on.
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Let’s learn about -ING verbs!
#1 – Use the -ING form of verbs in continuous tenses
Continuous tenses are when an action is in progress, for example:
- I’m studying English.
- She’s watching TV.
- We’re having lunch at the moment.
Present perfect continuous:
- I’ve been thinking a lot about this decision.
- He’s been working here since 1995.
- They’ve been waiting for you for an hour.
- When I came home last night, you were already sleeping.
- I found $10 on the street while I was jogging in the park.
- Sorry, I can’t meet with you tomorrow afternoon. I’ll be taking my friend to the airport.
#2 – Use the -ING form when the verb is the subject of the sentence
- Skiing is my favorite winter sport.
- Eating vegetables is good for your health.
- Living in an English-speaking country helps you improve your English fast.
#3 – Use the -ING form after prepositions
- I improved my English by practicing every day.
- We left the party after saying goodbye to everyone.
- I can’t believe he passed the test without studying at all!
- They’ve made a lot of money since launching their new product.
- I want to talk to you about investing in the stock market.
Exception: Never use the -ING form after “to”:
- I need to practice my English more.
- My mother told me to study for the test.
- We’d like to invest in this technology.
- The girl didn’t want to leave the party.
#4 – Use the -ING form after these verbs in English
Here are some common verbs in English that are followed by -ing.
The politician admitted stealing millions of dollars.
You should avoid eating after 10 PM.
Have you considered buying a laptop computer?
I enjoy surfing and playing tennis.
I finally finished cleaning the house at midnight.
- can’t stand
I can’t stand going to parties where I don’t know anyone.
- don’t mind
I don’t mind working overtime.
- look forward to
I look forward to seeing you next week.
- keep (continue)
My ex-boyfriend keeps calling me even though I’ve told him I don’t want to talk to him!
I need to practice writing in English.
- spend (time)
My roommate spends hours watching TV.
He stopped smoking ten years ago.
- suggest/ recommend
I suggest taking some time off.
The doctor recommended getting more rest.
Start, like, and love can be used with the infinitive or -ing. Both are correct!
- The baby started to cry.
= The baby started crying.
- I like to run.
= I like running.
- We love reading.
= We love to read.
- The baby started to cry.