Bored/Boring (adjectives that end in -ed or -ing)

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How to decide between -ed and -ing?

Confusing the adjectives bored and boring and other adjectives that end in -ed or -ing can lead to funny or even embarrassing mistakes.

The difference is as follows: use -ing to describe the effect of a person, thing or situation, and use -ed to describe feelings.

Mastering this difference can take some practice, so keep reading for clear examples and free interactive exercises, and you’ll be using these adjectives like a native speaker in no time!


Adam ist bored. He thinks the history teacher is boring.

Natasha is interested. She likes history and thinks history is very interesting.

Adjectives that end in -ed

Adjectives that end in -ed describe a person’s feelings or emotions.

Adam is bored.
Natasha is interested in history.

Adjectives that end with -ing

Adjectives that end in -ing describe an effect or characteristic; i.e., they describe the thing or person that causes a feeling or emotion.

Adam thinks the history teacher is boring.
= the history teacher causes boredom
Natasha likes history. She thinks it is very interesting.

Confusing the -ed and -ing endings can completely change the meaning of a sentence, and can often lead to embarrassing mistakes! Compare the sentences below:

My wife was bored at dinner.
= my wife felt boredom
My wife was boring at dinner.
= my wife was dull, she caused everyone else to feel bored

For more information see adjectives.