Adjectives are words that are used to describe nouns. Although adjectives that end with “-ing” and “-ed” are often confused for each other, they are not interchangeable at all.


1.   Causing an effect or feeling something.

Adjectives that end with “-ing” describes someone or something causing an effect.

Adjectives that end with “-ed” is affected by something or someone else and would feel a certain way.

  • “Wally’s job is boring, so he is bored.”
  • “Wally is bored because his job is boring.”

* Please note: Although it would be considered rude to describe someone as “boring,” you can use this to describe someone who unfortunately has this effect.

  • “Wally can be boring sometimes when he starts talking about work.”
2.   Inanimate objects cannot “feel” things.

Adjectives that end with “-ing” can be used to describe animate (people and animals) and inanimate things because they cause an effect.

Adjectives that end with “-ed” can only be used to describe animate things because they can feel a certain way.

  • “The job was really boring because the people there were also boring.”
    Not – “The job was really bored.”
  • “I was so bored at my last job.”
More examples:
  • “It was surprising that he passed but I mean, everyone was surprised about the outcome.”
  • “I think Eve is very interesting. But I guess you can say that about anyone who is genuinely interested in a lot of different and well, things that are interesting.”
  • “The presentation was really confusing. The presenter even looked confused at certain points. Both the presentation and the presenter were confusing.”
  • “It’s definitely been frustrating working with the team, but I guess they were equally frustrated working with me.”

Original posts: 22 October 2020