Word endings in English

Word endings in English

We all remember from school the incomprehensible symbols that teachers made us draw over words. We learned that the word can be disassembled by composition, and, it turns out, it has its own parts. 

Sometimes these parts change to form a new word. Sometimes only one of its attributes is changed. 

We will not paint for a long time, just this time we will talk about endings in English. The topic is very prosaic, because there are not so many inflections here. There are no case and generic endings in English, which greatly simplifies the study of the topic. 

In grammar, the term ending is called inflection, which comes from the Latin «to connect»


-ing ending 

Perhaps the most popular and quickly remembered ending, right? Even beginners to learn English will recognize this ending by its name. The ending is used in the continuous tenses to indicate the duration of an action. 

So, for example, with the times present / past / future continuous, the auxiliary verb to be will also be used in a certain form. 

  1. She was going to the university and listening to her favorite song.
  2. Chris and Sam are visiting Japan.  
  3. Kids will be walking around the beach. 

Note that not all verbs with an -ing ending will refer to one or another tense. This ending is also used in the form of the first participle and the gerund. 

The gerund is a special verb form that in a sentence can be the subject, the object, or even the adverbal modifier.

  • Fish – fishing, 
  • Drive – driving,  
  • readreading, etc. 

The study of the gerund is quite an exciting process, so we should devote a separate article to it. 


Ending -s/-es/-ies 

The first role of this ending is to form the verb form of the third person singular of Present Simple. Simply put, verbs that come after he/she/it pronouns, nouns that can be replaced by these pronouns, or personal names will end in -s/es




Vowel + у, other cases 

After, -x, -z, -o 

Consonant + y 

Play – he/she/it plays

Obey – obeys

Car – cars

Hiss – hisses

Go – goes 

Bush – bushes

Fox – foxes

Try – tries

Cry – cries

Cherry – cherries


Tense ending -ed 

Regular English verbs form the past form by adding the suffix/ending -ed. Words formed in this way are used in the tenses of the past and perfect groups, expressing an action in the past, or stating the fact of this action. 

+ ed 

+ ied 

+ d 

Word ends with consonant

Word ends with consonant + y

Word ends with vowel

Call – called

Stop – stopped

Cook – cooked

Try – tried

Cry – cried

Identify – identified

Bake – baked

Guide – guided

Poke – poked

  • I looked for children and saw them playing in the yard. 


Participle endings 

Such a category as participles differ in English from ordinary verbs. It is easy for an ignorant person to mistake one for the other and vice versa. 

In English, participles are formed using the endings -ing and -ed, but in this case they have nothing to do with verbs of a particular tense. 

In the first participle, the ending is added to the main verb form, giving the word the features of a subject or object. 

  • Read reading 
  • She prefers reading
  • My dad likes diving

The second participle is formed with the ending -ed, indicating the completion of the action by someone.

  • The buns baked at that bakery are actually the best. 

However, the second participle can also have the form of an irregular verb. 

  • The moment, caught in the camera, made me laughing so hard.  


Inflection -'s 

This type of ending is used in the possessive case. That is, when we talk about belonging to someone of something. The possessive case answers the question "whose?" and in English is formed by adding an apostrophe and the ending -s to a noun or proper name. 

However, the ending will only be added to singular words and plural exceptions that have their own word forms that do not fall under the general rules for plural formation in English. 

  • Alex's car 
  • Dog's ball 
  • Dogs' balls (no case ending, only apostrophe and plural ending) 
  • Children's books (proper plural with apostrophe and case ending) 



In fact, what we used to think of as an ending is often a suffix in English. Therefore, if you suddenly see this word in the rules, do not panic. It simply means that some of the rules have been adapted to better understand the material. 

So, we can distinguish four types of English word endings: 

1. Ending -s/-es

Plural, Present Simple 

2. Ending -ed

Past Simple, Second Communion 

3. Ending -ing

Gerund, first participle, long tenses 

4. Inflection - 's

Possessive case