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Bored vs. Boring (ED and ING Adjectives)

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Common mistakes

  1. (NG) I was very exciting at the party.
    1. (OK) I was very excited at the party.
  2. (NG) The meeting was bored because it was so long.
    1. (OK) The meeting was boring because it was so long.

Grammar words and phrases in context

New York is a very exciting city. I’m sure that if you came here, you would be amazed by the tall buildings, fascinating musicals, and interesting people. I am sure you would be impressed with the variety of restaurants in the Big Apple too. You might find that doing a lot of walking here is tiring, but you’ll never feel bored.

Bored (ED Participle Adjectives)

Words like bored, excited, interested, amazed, disappointed, etc. describe people and how a person feels about something. We generally use the be verb or feel with these adjectives and the subject of the sentence is a person, not a thing. Remember, people are ed!

  1. I felt tired yesterday so I went to bed early.
  2. I’m interested in jazz.
  3. Jack was excited when he won the lottery!

Boring (ING Participle Adjectives)

Words like boring, exciting, interesting, amazing, disappointing, etc. describe things and the reason a person has a certain feeling about something. We generally use the be verb with these adjectives and the subject of the sentence is a thing or situation, not a person. Remember, things are ing!

  1. My job is tiring. I need a vacation.
  2. I think jazz is very interesting.
  3. Winning the lottery is very exciting!

Here are some more examples using both types of adjectives:

  1. The party was boring, so I was bored.
  2. I am so excited because this roller coaster is exciting.
  3. This lesson is interesting, so I am very interested in it.

We can also use ING participle adjectives to describe a person’s character or personality:

  1. The CEO is an interesting ← His personality is interesting, so he is interesting.
  2. My history teacher was boring. ← His personality is boring, so he is boring.

Irregular participle adjectives

Not every set of participle adjectives follows the ED or ING pattern. Here are some common exceptions:

scared – scary

  1. I was scared because the movie was scary.

impressed – impressive

  1. His speech was impressive, so I was impressed with it.

stressed – stressful

  1. Driving in rush hour traffic is so stressful. I am always stressed when I have to do it.

offended – offensive

  1. Of course, I was offended by what he said. It was very offensive.