Advanced Grammar for IELTS: Participle (-ing or -ed) Adjectives
To boost your IELTS Writing score, you should use a range of advanced grammar to impress the IELTS examiner. This lesson will cover Participle Adjectives which is commonly used in IELTS writing task 1, 2 and can help you hike up your score.
We often use -ing and -ed participles as adjectives. We usually use them in the same positions as other adjectives:
- A win, even by only one goal, would be a satisfying result.
- I never find fast food very satisfying.
- Recommendations from satisfied customers got our business off the ground.
- We follow up every complaint from customers dissatisfied with our service.
Some participle adjectives (see the table below) can be used on their own before or after a noun:
- The chosen song features innovative use of digital sampling.
- The song chosen may be a disappointment to lovers of traditional ballads.
But some participle adjectives (see the table below) can only be used after a noun:
Please dispose of your cigarettes in the provided ashtrays.
✓ Please dispose of your cigarettes in the ashtrays provided
before or after a noun: affected, chosen, identified, infected, remaining, selected, stolen
only after a noun: applying, caused, discussed, found, provided, questioned, taken
When we use participles as adjectives, -ing participles have an active meaning and -ed participles have a passive meaning:
- I always seem to play for the losing team. (= the team which is losing)
- She found the lost ring under the sofa. (= the ring which had been lost)
We often use participles as adjectives to describe feelings or opinions. We use -ing participles to describe a feeling that something causes
- It was a frightening film. (= it frightened us/it made us feel afraid)
We use -ed participles to describe a feeling that someone experiences:
I felt frightened when I watched that film. (= I was frightened / I experienced fear)
Note: Inanimate objects cannot have feelings so we don’t usually use -ed adjectives about feelings to describe them:
The report into the Paddington roil crash was rather worried
✓ The report was rather worrying (= The report made readers feel anxious.)
We can use that/those with all participle adjectives with a meaning like “the one/the ones that …”. In this pattern we use that to refer to a thing and those to refer to things or people:
- The easiest route is that taken by Amundsen (= the one which was taken by)
- Those living in temporary accommodation will be rehoused within three months. (= those people who are living in)
- I feel sorry for those left behind. (= Those people that are left behind.)
We sometimes combine participles with other words to make compound adjectives. The participle usually comes last. Notice the use of hyphens when the compound adjective is used before a noun:
- This Japanese maple is a particularly slow-growing variety.
- Handel’s ‘Xerxes’ was a rarely-performed opera until relatively recently.
- Interest in Latino music is no longer confined to a Spanish-speaking audience.
- The marines made a death-defying leap over the cliff edge.
Study the numbered options in italics in this text. Underline the correct options. Note that in some cases both options are correct.
Improve these sentences by rewriting them using compound participle adjectives to replace the underlined phrases. Use suitable forms of one word from each box to form the compound adjectives and make any changes necessary to grammar and word order.
- (0) Sao Paulo is a city which is getting bigger very quickly.
===> Sao Paulo is a rapidly-expanding city.
- Northumberland is a part of England which people don’t go to very often.
- They were soon engulfed by the water which was flowing very quickly
- In recent times changes which are caused by technical developments have had a profound impact
on working practices
- The oak is a tree which doesn’t get bigger very quickly.
- Australian parrots have plumage which is a mixture of bright red, yellow, and green.
- The Midlands is Britain’s main region that produces automobiles.
- The Hubble space telescope has produced pictures which are improved by electronic means that have amazed the public.
- There is a segment of the public that visits cinemas that will always want to see corny adventure movies.
- The new wing will be opened by a TV personality whom many people have heard of.
- The desserts which are produced by ourselves are the main feature of our restaurant.