Adjectives ending in -ed and -ing

I have been asked many times about the difference between adjectives ending in –ed and –ing. Many students find these two categories of adjectives difficult to master. The rules are relatively simple, all you need is a little practice.

The best way to remember when to use adjectives ending in –ed or –ing is to think about what it is describing.  Adjectives that end –ed describe emotions or feelings; how someone feels about something. Adjectives that end –ing describe the traits of a noun or pronoun.


“Did you see that band play at the weekend? They were amazing!”

“I was disappointed by my exam results this term.”

“We were surprised by how challenging the hike was. We were exhausted by the end of it.”


You may think that the difference is small, but it can have an important impact on the meaning of the sentence. Compare the following statements:


“I am interested.” (You like the topic.)

“I am interesting.” (You think that you are appealing to other people.)


“The party was terrible. I was so bored.” (The atmosphere, people and music weren’t very good.)

“The party was terrible. I was so boring.” (You were the reason that the party was terrible, people were not interested in what you had to say.)


Here is a list of some of the most common English adjectives ending in -ed and -ing:

Adjective – ed Adjective – ing Adjective – ed Adjective – ing
amazed amazing fascinated fascinating
annoyed annoying frightened frightening
bored boring frustrated frustrating
challenged challenging fulfilled fulfilling
charmed charming insulted insulting
comforted comforting interested interesting
concerned concerning intrigued intriguing
confused confusing irritated irritating
convinced convincing overwhelmed overwhelming
devastated devastating relaxed relaxing
disappointed disappointing satisfied satisfying
disgusted disgusting shocked shocking
disheartened disheartening soothed soothing
distressed distressing surprised surprising
disturbed disturbing tempted tempting
embarrassed embarrassing terrified terrifying
encouraged encouraging threatened threatening
entertained entertaining thrilled thrilling
exasperated exasperating tired tiring
excited exciting touched touching
exhausted exhausting upset upsetting



  1. I will be very ­­_____________ if I pass my driving test. I haven’t practised for three months.
  1. This tea tastes_____________. I think you added salt instead of sugar.
  1. I hate horror movies. They are too_____________ for me.
  1. He seemed_____________ in the job. He asked a lot of questions in the interview.

Post your answers in the comments section below or email us at Intrepid English.

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This blog was written by Intrepid English Teacher and Founder, Lorraine.

Find out more about Lorraine on her Intrepid English Teacher profile page

If you have any questions, or you would like to request a topic for a future blog, you can contact us here or email us at Intrepid English.

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