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Practice with the exercises:
Exercise 1

1. Verbs in -ing

Continuous verb tenses (present continuous, past continuous, etc.) are built with the main verb ending in -ing. However, the structure verb + -ing is also used in other cases depending on the verb combination or the position of the verb.

They are jumping.
Working at night is always hard.

2. How do you use verbs in -ing?

We will use a verb in -ing depending on the verb that it is combined with or the position of the verb:

  • At the beginning of a sentence.
    Having a nap has benefits.
    Breaking up with your partner is never easy.

    To make a negative sentence of this type, the particle not will be placed before the verb.

    Drinking water is a healthy habit.
    Not drinking water is an unhealthy habit.
  • After certain verbs (suggest, finish, enjoy, love, hate, like, consider, fancy...).
    She loves having parties at the weekend.
    She suggested watching a play at the theatre.
  • After a preposition (at, for, before, by, on, after, without).
    She is good at singing.
    You should be ashamed of cheating.
  • In activities preceded by the verb go.
    She goes skiing every winter.
    I went sightseeing around Pisa.

3. Verbs in -ing as a subject or as an object

A verb + -ing form can be the subject of a sentence (it has the function of a noun) or the object of a sentence.

He likes swimming in the ocean.
In this example swimming is the direct object as it is affected by the action of the verb like.
Swimming is an Olympic sport.
In this example swimming is the subject of the sentence and so, it has the function of a noun.

His hobby is climbing.
Writing is a creative activity.


The verb + -ing structure can be used in many ways, depending on the particle it is combined with or its position.
Use Examples
Continuous verb tenses Now I'm dating Manolo.
At the beginning of a sentence Running every morning is a good habit.
Activities preceded by go We go salling every summer.
Complement of another verb I don't mind helping you with the shopping.
After a preposition I'm thinking about moving to the city.