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There are many words in the English language that are used to express emotions. We can express our emotions using verbs such as like, love, hate or with adjectives like happy, or mad. We can also use a class of words known as participle adjectives to express emotions. Participles are formed by adding either ~ing or ~ed to the stem of a verb, but be careful because not all verbs can become participle adjectives.

Participle adjectives that end in ~ed are called past participles; those ending in ~ing are called present participles.

Common Participle Adjectives
Past ParticiplePresent Participle
bored boring

Express emotions using past and present participles.

Many students have trouble with past and present participles. How does one know when to use the past participle and when to use the present participle? Let's look at a few sentences.

a.) The lecture this morning was really boring. I was so bored I almost fell asleep.

b.) My history teacher is such an interesting person. Thanks to him I'm more interested in history than before I took his class.

In sentence a.), the speaker had the feeling of being bored. That feeling was caused by the lecture. In sentence b.), speaker had an interest in history. The feeling of interest was caused by the history teacher. So, the rule is this; use the past participle (verb+ed) to describe how a person feels. Use the present participle (verb+ing) to describe the cause of a feeling. Another good rule to remember is that an inanimate object (non-living thing) cannot have feelings; therefore, it cannot be described using the past participle (verb+ed), you must use the present participle (verb+ing). For example, a book cannot be interested, it can however, be interesting.

More adjectives that are used to describe feelings.
  • Agitated: to be distressed, disturbed or excited about something.

  • Angry: a strong feeling of displeasure or resentment.

  • Angst: a feeling of dread or anxiety

  • Cheerful: in good spirits

  • Forlorn: hopeless or despairing

  • Joyful: a feeling of extreme happiness.

  • Lighthearted: a feeling of no worries or cares.

  • Miserable: wretchedly unhappy; disconsolate.<

  • Scared: to become suddenly fearful, to be surprised or alarmed.

  • Seething: to be agitated as by anger

  • Wretched: a feeling of deep despair or misery.

  • Take the Quiz.