Confusion arises in certain circumstances where it seems possible that either form might be appropriate: how do you tell which one is correct? For example, should you say
“The movie was interesting” or “The movie was interested” ?
Here are a couple of ways to look at it:
- ~ed: Use the past participle (~ed) when you want to describe how you (i.e., the subject) feel.
- ~ing: Use the present participle (~ing) when you want to talk about a quality or characteristic that the noun has // Use the present participle (~ing) to describe the effect that the noun has on you (the subject).
So, we have
a interested buyer (the buyer feels interested)
a bored student (the student feels bored)
an annoyed customer (the customer feels annoyed)
an interesting movie (the movie makes me interested)
a boring teacher (the teacher makes me bored)
an annoying conversation (the conversation makes me annoyed)
Try these exercises: Select the correct adjective. (Solutions tomorrow.)
1. According to the review in the newspaper, it’s a (bored//boring) movie.
2. I have some (excited//exciting) news – I got a promotion at work today!
3. Please turn off the TV – I’m not (interested//interesting) in that program.
4. Do you like that commercial? I find it rather (annoyed//annoying).
5. He gave me a (puzzled//puzzling) look, and asked me to explain the problem again.
6. James was (depressed//depressing) because he didn’t get on the basketball team.
7. It’s (disturbed//disturbing) that anyone would find humor in such a tragedy.
8. I was (confused//confusing) by the poorly-worded directions.
9. The (frightened//frightening) child cried when she watched “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”
10. You got a “D” on your math test? I am very (disappointed//disappointing) in you!
11. The politician raised an (interested//interesting) point regarding the accuracy of his opponent’s poll numbers.
12. I just heard some (depressed//depressing) news – my favorite band is breaking up.
13. A haunted house is too (frightened//frightening) for a small child like her.
14. The (bored//boring) man fell asleep in the middle of the lecture.
15. The homework was so (puzzled//puzzling) to me that I gave up and went to bed.
16. The (excited//exciting) child looked forward to the class trip to the zoo.
17. Sales were (disappointed//disappointing) last month; let’s work harder this month to improve our bottom line.
18. The man was clearly (annoyed//annoying) at having to wait in line.
19. The publisher rejected Tom’s book because of its (confused//confusing) plot.
20. Psychopaths are usually extremely (disturbed//disturbing) individuals, and should be put in an institution to prevent them from hurting themselves or others.