Lesser Verbs: -ing

We now turn our attention to words ending in -ing.   


-ing Words as Verbs

If an –ing word comes right after a verb, it is usually a verb:

ing verb:       We will be running in the race tomorrow.

However, an –ing verb does not have to come right after a verb.

ing verb:       Running, Sylvia tripped and fell.

-ing Words as Nouns

If a determiner is in front of an –ing word, then it cannot be a verb. It probably is a noun.

ing noun:      The growling lion scared off the hyenas.

A determiner does not have to be present for an –ing word to be a noun:

ing noun:      The hyenas were afraid of growling lions.

Other words can come between the determiner and the noun to which it attaches:

ing noun:      The big, howling hyena kept us up all night.

Here, three words all attach to the noun, hyena:

    The       big,     howling            hyena                      kept us up all night.

            The hyena

            big hyena

            howling hyena


Is the –ing word next to a verb?

Then it usually is a verb.

    Does a determiner come before it?

       Then it cannot be a verb.

The Act of

As we have seen, verbs often act as nouns.

Another time that occurs is when we mean the act of.  The example:

                                                      Parts of Speech

   N          V         N

Darby loves running.

Darby loves (the act of) running.

If the word is an action, then the verb remains a verb:

   N       V       V          N

Darby was running second.

Class Activity

Determine if the following –ing words are verbs or nouns.


1. The roaring lion warned all the savanna of his presence.

2. We saw the volcano blow while we were flying to Seattle.

3. Swimming upstream, the trout stopped for a Coke.

4. The airline is investigating the accident.

5. The news reported a sailing trip gone terribly wrong.

6. Spiking the ball after a touchdown was something Todd loved to do.

7. We are going to show you some photos from the flooding in Jamaica.

8. After attacking Pearl Harbor, the Japanese headed to Midway Island.

9. The deer stupidly stopped to smell the roses while it was running from hunters.

10. George’s parasailing monkey was a big hit at the beach.

11. The accidental shooting occurred at midnight.

12.  Pumping gas made Gerald feel like a servant toward his Corvette.

Individual or Small Group Activity

Complete the following:   Wales