What’s the difference? Bored vs. Boring

Using the word boring instead of bored is a common mistake for English Learners. If someone who is learning English stays home all day and does not do anything very fun or interesting, you might hear her say “I was boring.” This is not what she meant to say. She meant to say “I was bored.” If she says “I was boring” she is calling herself a boring person. This is a strange thing to say about yourself. If she says “I was bored” she is saying that doing nothing made her bored. There was nothing fun or interesting going on.

Boring is an –ing adjective that describes a thing or person that causes this feeling. Bored is an –ed adjective that describes the person that feels the effect of this feeling.

Let’s look at more examples of this.

Boring Student plus Teacher

These students are bored                             because the teacher is boring.

Exciting Excited

These people are excited                       because the roller coaster is exciting.

Boring vs bored master image template

This driver is confused                                  because the map is confusing.

The –ing adjective describes a thing/person that is doing something to someone. It describes the active noun.

  • The teacher bores the student. He is a boring teacher.
  • The roller coaster excites the people. It is an exciting roller coaster.
  • The map confuses the driver. It is a confusing map.

The –ed adjective describes a thing/person that is receiving the action. It describes the passive noun.

  • The student was bored by the teacher. He is a bored student.
  • The people were excited by the roller coaster. They are excited people.
  • The driver was confused by the map. She is a confused driver.

These adjectives come from verbs. The verb changes to an –ing adjective to describe the subject of the sentence. The verb changes to an –ed adjective to describe the object.

Monster frightens child
The monster                     frightens                   the child.
(subject)                             (verb)                       (object)

The monster is frightening.

The child is frightened.

Boring vs bored master image template
The child                           annoys             the passenger.
(subject)                             (verb)                   (object)

The child is _________________.

The passenger is _______________________.

Hope that this post was interesting.  We are interested in reading your comments below.

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