Ace English with Valerie Ng

When verbs are used as adjectives

Ace English with Valerie

There are two main ways in which a verb can act as an adjective:
  • verb + ed e.g. I'm not amused, scared, confused....etc
    For regular verbs, these are normally the past participles of the verb. Click here to view the past participles for irregular verbs.

  • verb + ing e.g. amusing, frightening, confusing...etc.

So, which one would you use for which situation?

Let's examine the picture on the right

You can see that the little boy is annoying his sister and that she's annoyed. The little boy is doing the annoying while the sister is feeling, and being the object of the annoyance.

The table below shows some more examples of when to use which verb form.

Base Verb to describe the source to describe the feeling


the comedy show was funny and amusing

he was more amused by the puppy's behaviour than angry


the noise is annoying/agitating

he was annoyed/agitated by the noise and couldn't do his homework


this book is boring

I am bored by this book


the new map is really confusing

they are confused by the new map


watching table tennis is exciting

people get excited playing and watching table tennis


running a marathon must be exhausting

the runner was exhausted after having run 20 km


being lost can be frightening

stop frightening your sister!

they were frightened by the loud noise

your sister is frightened


this article is really interesting.

they are interested to know more


a warm shower is so relaxing

James Bond is always calm and relaxed


it's not surprising that people like ice cream - it's delicious

if you eat too much ice cream, don't be surprised that your stomach will feel bad


the bully was threatening the small child

the storm clouds look threatening

the small child was threatened by the bully

the likelihood of having a picnic was threatened by the appearance of the storm clouds


walking 10 miles is really tiring

I'm so tired. I've just walked 10 miles

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