Monthly Archives: November 2013

interesting vs. interested in


Question: When do I use “interesting” and when “interested”?

The answer may come as a surprise to you.  Let’s look at these 2 sample sentences:

a) I am interested in politics.

b) Politics is interesting.

These are not verbs.  They are both adjectives.

Here is an example  with “interest” as a verb.  Notice it is a transitive verb that needs a reflexive pronoun as its object:

c) Politics interests me. (interests = transitive verb*; me = reflexive pronoun*)

* See upcoming blog posts for explanations of these grammar terms.


Rule 1: Use the “-ed” form when you talk about internal feelings.

Rule 2: Use the “-ing” form when describing something external.

Rule 3: Although these words are based on verbs, they are more frequently used in their adjective form.

Here are 3 more examples comparing the “-ed” and “-ing” forms:

This baby is bored!

1a) The students are bored (because the teacher and the class is boring).

2a) He seems tired (because his work is tiring).

3a) They were confused (because the story was confusing).

Now look at these examples, in the verb form:

1b) The teacher and class bored me.

2b) His work tires him.

3b) The story confused them.

Here is a short exercise to check your comprehension.

Directions: Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the word shown in brackets.

1.  The documentary they showed was very __________ (interest).

2.  The pupils seem __________ (distract) in their math class.

3. When the football season ended, the fans were rather ___________ (disappoint) their team came in second place.

4. Knowing how _________ (worry) my mother can get, I phone her every day.

5. I can hear banging noises in my office all day due to the construction work going on.  It really ________ (disturb) me.

Scroll down for the answers.

Answer Key: 1. interesting 2. distracted 3. disappointed 4. worried 5. disturbs