How to use the -ING form of verbs in English
Did you know that there are at least four different ways to use the -ing form of verbs in English?
#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.
admit – The politician admitted stealing millions of dollars.
avoid – You should avoid eating after 10 PM.
consider – Have you considered buying a laptop computer?
enjoy – I enjoy surfing and playing tennis.
finish – 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!
practice – I need to practice writing in English.
spend (time) – My roommate spends hours watching TV.
stop – 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.