The Comparison between the Adjective with -ed and the Adjective with -ing
Sometimes spring-like weather can be a blessing for it enables the teacher and author to be creative. Therefore, let us start with the comparison of two different sentences:
Clara was astonished by the view of the hills.
The views of the hills were astonishing.
Do you know the difference? If not, look at the next picture below:
We were blessed with beautiful weather.
The beautiful weather was a blessing.
The difference is with the adjective. In the first one, we have astonished and astonishing, whereas here, we have blessed and blessing. Both are adjectives, but they have different functions. The difference will be focused in this article as many people, especially non-native speakers of English know the difference between the adjective and the adverb, but have problems telling the difference among the types of adjectives that exist, namely our focus on those with -ed and those with -ing.
So to start:
The Adjective is a word or group of words that support the noun in a sentence. A pair of examples to illustrate:
The professor was appalled at the fact that the student cheated on his test.
Appalled is the adjective describing the professor.
Jessica is having a stressful evening because her computer is not functioning.
Stressful is the adjective describing the evening Jessica is having.
Larissa’s day at work was rather interesting because she interviewed a popular sports figure.
Interesting and popular are both adjectives describing Larissa’s day at work and sports figure, respectively.
The concert was absolutely, posivitely, unconditionally and totally fabulous! It was rather noisy and really crowded, but it was exciting!
Here, we have a couple rules to keep in mind: when more than one word is used to describe a noun, the rule is the word closest to the noun is an adjective, the rest are all adverbs. In this case, fabulous is the adjective in the first sentence, describing the concert.
In the second rule, if there are two words separated by either a comma or conjunction, but describing the same noun, they are both adjectives. In this case, we have crowded and noisy as adjectives describing the concert (it) because it was separated by and.
Keeping these rules in mind, let’s take a look at two example sentences:
Dorothea found the artist’s night photos fascinating.
Dorothea was fascinated with the night photos.
Here, we can find the difference in terms of the usage of adjectives. In the first one, the adjective with the -ing describes the appearance of the night photos taken by a talented photographer. Like in the endings if -ful, -ive, less, etc., the adjective with -ing is used to describe an object, event or incident that the person (either as narrator or as second or third person) comments about, based on observations, reactions and impressions that do not affect the person directly.
In the first example, we can see Dorothea’s observations and she makes a comment about it (either mentally or with another person) without any emotional reaction, as can be seen in the second example.
When using the adjective with -ed, it implies that the person reacts to an event, observation or object with emotion. Similar to the passive voice (meaning the ending must coincide with the past participal (perfect) verb form), the adjective with -ed functions in a way that the person receives the event and reacts to it.
In the second example, we can see Dorothea receiving the impression of the night photos through her own observations, and her reactions were that felt the photos were fascinating. Yet as reaction, we would say that she was fascinated because the reactions to the photos come from her directly.
The exception to this rule is when we have sense adjectives, sometimes combined with the verbs feel, find, consider, think, get and other verbs dealing with feelings and reactions, where no -ed ending is needed because they stand out alone. Some examples using the word Sick include:
Theodore is sick with the flu.- Theodore got the flu from someone else and is therefore feeling bad with fever, etc.
Theodore got sick when he heard of the news of his friend’s suicide.- Here, Theodore received the news of the tragedy and feels numb and sad, wondering why it happened and regretting his non-interference.
Theodore is sick and tired of his job.- This example represents his disdain of his job and his quest to find a better one.
Interestingly enough, if these adjectives were used as an observation, many times, -ing is added- but not always. A couple examples:
Theodore’s obsession with Annette is sickening. BUT
Theodore’s obsession with Annette is sick.
But our main focus is the use of adjectives based on observation (-ing) and reaction (-ed), for they can be mixed up, based on the context and how it is presented. If one observes an object and reacts to it, then the adjective with -ed is needed. If one commentates on an object and describes it, then it is with -ing. You can see it more in details in the diagram above, the writing was courtesy of the author. 🙂
Keeping this in mind, let’s look at the following exercise, where you use the verb in parenthesis and convert it into adjective, using either -ing or -ed
- Terry was __________ by the lecture that was ______________. (bore)
- I was ____________ by breath by the view of the city from the cathedral, which was breath-___________. (take)
- Sharon was ____________ by the Indian’s _____________ story of the great warrior named Tree Woman. (amuse)
- Frank and Walter’s _____________ seat pad got them ___________ in the car for hours. (stick)
- Eva felt ___________ into an immoral deal by two ______________ salesmen. (pressure)
Prof. Smith was _____________ (tire) and wanted to escape to a quiet apartment when suddenly, a _____________ (sob) student appeared into his office. He knew this girl because she was in one of his classes that is ____________(excite) because many students are ______________(impress) with the ______________ (interest) and thought- _______________(provoke) discussions about current events in a foreign language. _____________ (surprise), Mr. Smith asks the girl named Elisabeth what the problem was. She handed him a letter that was handwritten but also messy. “No worries, Liz,” Mr. Smith replied. “This letter cannot be that ____________ (shock), right?” Liz, _________ (anger) by his response, shot back at him by saying “It’s worse.” With a __________ (perplex) look on his face, he read the letter. Two minutes later, his face ___________ (drain) in white with sweat, he asked her how long she has known about this. Her response was a ____________ (resound) one: “For four ___________ months and now, I’m totally ___________ because of him!” (fuck)
“OK,” said a calm but now very ___________ (annoy) Mr. Smith. “I will talk to him about this and see what we can do about this problem. It is definitely a very serious one that cannot be ____________ (ignore), period.”
Next day, as he was heading to one of the university halls for class, he encounters Liz’s main problem, who wrote her the letter. Despite his stirn but professional stance, his reaction was ___________ (surprise), even to himself. He…..
C. In your opinion, what do you think happened between Elisabeth and her student colleague?
1. He dated her but then decided to love someone else instead
2. He dated her but has an extra affair on the side
3. He hasn’t been dating her but harassed her to a point where she needs help to settle the matter.
4. He has been thrown out of the university because of his failing an exam three times and has kept it secret
5. He has been dating her and are suddenly expecting a child after a few months of dating
6. He is keeping something a secret from her and has repelled her attempts to find out what has been going on.
7. Other thoughts?
Pick what you think happens then click here to see the result with some exercises.
Note: The Three-Strikes and You’re Out Rule applies to studies in general at a German university. For more, please click here.