Verb forms that end in “-ing”

Verb forms that end in -ing are known as present participles or gerunds. They can be combined with a helping verb to form a progressive tense verb: is snowing, was skating, have been skiing, will be snowshoeing. But when they're used on their own without a helping verb, these -ing words don't function as verbs. Instead, they function as nouns or adjectives and are known as verbals. Verbals are verb forms that look like verbs but don't act as the verb in the sentence. If you want more information on verbals, see our writing tip on the gerund or our writing tip on the participle.

In the sentences below, identify whether the -ing word in brackets is acting as a verb, a noun or an adjective.

1. Anna enjoys [serving] up spicy chili after a skating party.
2. Anna enjoys serving up spicy chili after a [skating] party.
3. [Walking] briskly on a cold winter day is invigorating.
4. Since the late 1970s, Canada has been [observing] Commonwealth Day on the second Monday in March.
5. The community is [coming] together to celebrate International Women's Day.
6. Some animals are still [hibernating] in March.
7. Preschool children love [singing] "Ten little snowflakes."
8. Jolam's family will be [celebrating] the spring equinox together.
9. Holi, which is usually celebrated in March, is a festival of colours that involves [throwing] coloured powder, lighting bonfires and giving out sweets.
10. Canada's multiculturalism helps make it a [welcoming], inclusive and diverse country.