TalkEnglish Logo

Participial Adjectives

Some adjectives have two forms. For example, "bored" and "boring". These are called participial adjectives.

A participle is a word that can act as a verb or an adjective. In this lesson, we are mainly looking at when these words are used as adjectives.

Past participles end in "-ed" and present participles end in "-ing". Here are a few examples.

Past ParticiplesPresent Participles
boredboring
excitedexciting
satisfiedsatisfying
annoyedannoying
tiredtiring

Participial adjectives come from verbs.
  • Her actions surprised me. (verb)
  • Her actions were surprising. (present participle)
  • I was surprised by her actions. (past participle)
We use past participles to talk about how somebody feels. So, past participles will always be used with people or animals.

Past participles follow a "be verb" or the verb "feel".
  • I am bored.
  • She is tired.
  • They are confused.
  • Mark was shocked.
  • Mary was touched by the movie.
  • The students were pleased with their test results.
  • He feels depressed.
  • She felt inspired by the book.
Present participles tell how something makes us or other people feel. We use present participles when the subject has caused a feeling.

Present participles always follow a "be verb".

Present participles are used with things. Anything that is not alive will always use present participles.
  • The movie was interesting.
  • The ending of the book was surprising.
  • It is exciting.
  • The results were disappointing.
  • Camping is interesting.
  • Hiking is tiring.
When we use present participles with people, we are talking about how they make other people feel. They do not show how the person in the sentence feels.
  • They are annoying.
  • She is interesting
  • Mark is terrifying.
Look at the difference.
  • Bill is boring.
    (=Bill is not fun. Bill makes me or other people bored.)

  • Bill is bored.
    (=Bill feels bored.)

  • The dog is terrifying.
    (=The dog is scary. The dog makes me or other people feel scared.)

  • The dog is terrified because of the thunderstorm.
    (The dog feels scared.)
All of these present and past participles also have a verb form.
  • She is annoyed. (past participle)
  • She is annoying. (present participle)
  • She annoys me. (verb)

  • He was surprised. (past participle)
  • That was surprising. (present participle)
  • The news surprised me. (past tense verb)

  • He was disappointed after the game. (past participle)
  • The movie was disappointing. (present participle)
  • I don't want to disappoint my parents. (verb)
Here is a list of the most common participial adjectives. If you want to be a fluent English speaker, then you should know all of these. If you do not know some of these, then write them down and look them up later.

Past ParticiplesPresent Participles
alarmedalarming
amazedamazing
amusingamused
annoyedannoying
astonishedastonishing
boredboring
comfortedcomforting
confusedconfusing
depresseddepressing
disappointed disappointing
disgusteddisgusting
distresseddistressing
disturbeddisturbing
embarrassedembarrassing
entertainedentertaining
excitedexciting
exhaustedexhausting
fascinatedfascinating
frightenedfrightening
horrifiedhorrifying
inspiredinspiring
interestedinteresting
irritatedirritating
movedmoving
paralyzedparalyzing
pleasedpleasing
relaxedrelaxing
satisfiedsatisfying
shockedshocking
soothedsoothing
startledstartling
stimulatedstimulating
surprisedsurprising
terrifiedterrifying
tiredtiring
touchedtouching


previous lessonnext lesson


Do you need to Learn English Faster?
Do you want to speak English fluently?

The best way to learn English is now available!!! > > > The SKESL System < < <