The examples above all relate to feelings. The -ed
form describes the person or thing that experiences the feeling; the -ing
form describes the person or thing that causes the feeling.
Simple grammar books sometimes say that the -ed
form is for people and
form is for things. This is because it is usually things that cause people's feelings. This is often true, but not always. Look at these examples:
She was tired after the long walk.
The long walk (a thing) caused her (a person) to be tired
He was surprised when he saw his results.
His results (a thing) caused him (a person) to be surprised
Another way to express these examples would be:
The long walk was tiring.
His results were surprising.
What about these examples?
Her son asks a lot of questions. He is tiring.
This time it is a person (her son) who causes a person (her) to be tired
Doris never wants to go out. She's so boring.
In this case, again, it is a person (Doris) who causes a person (me) to feel something.
Another way to look at this is to be aware that you can make a sentence with a verb to express the same idea (although this may not be the most natural way of expressing it).
The walk tired her.
His results surprised him.
Her son tires her.
Doris bores me.
In these examples, you will notice that the subjects: the walk, his results, her son
, take the -ing
adjective, and the objects: her, him, her
, take the -ed
We can see that participial adjectives show the subject and object of an action, not simply people and things, although it is true that the subjects are often things and the objects are usually people.