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The Suffix -ING: A FREE Morphology Lesson

Cate O'Donnell

3 min read

Nov 29, 2023




Morphology is a powerful tool for teaching older students both decoding longer words and understanding new vocabulary words. We use the suffix -ing in multiple ways. For example, it can turn a verb into a noun:

I like to read.

Reading is my favorite activity.

In this lesson, we will focus on using the suffix -ing to create progressive verb tenses. Depending on the age of your students, you may or may not want to use the progressive verb tense vocabulary.

suffix -ing example of jumping

Progressive verb tenses tell us that an action is continuous. Progressive verb tenses need helping verbs to tell us when the action happens.

I was walking. (past progressive)

I am walking. (present progressive)

I will be walking. (future progressive)

In this lesson, you will teach students many things.

  1. suffixes come at the end of words

  2. suffixes change the meaning of a word

  3. suffixes are not words, but they are units of meaning

  4. we use the suffix -ing to show that an action is continuous

  5. sometimes we have to change the spelling at the end of the base word to add the -ing suffix

It is helpful for students to know the parts of speech as they work on morphology. If your students need to work on parts of speech, I highly recommend this writing program. It teaches writing complete sentences based on parts of speech, and it has lessons on helping verbs and simple verb tenses. If you need to, you can even use these two programs at the same time.

writing complete sentences

Teaching the Suffix -ING

To teach your students about the suffix -ing, display the presentation below. You can access the presentation from this website for free. You can also purchase the slideshow for use at school.

This lesson teaches the function of the suffix, but it focuses on spelling because there are so many spelling rules for adding suffixes that begin with a vowel. At the beginning of each lesson, you will share the slide with the basic information and the chart that shows the different spelling patterns. Then, students will practice the spelling patterns using this routine:

  1. You display a verb from the presentation.

  2. Students write the verb with the -ing suffix in their writing notebooks or on a whiteboard.

  3. You display the verb with the suffix -ing from the presentation (the next slide).

  4. Students check their work and get immediate feedback.

This is a spiral review lesson. Each day, you will teach students one spelling pattern for the suffix -ing. Students will practice that pattern and review any past patterns. The complete lesson will take ten days. You also get mixed review for practice later in the year to keep your students fresh.

Here is a review of the rules for adding the suffix -ing to words:

For most verbs, simply add "-ing":

play → playing

read → reading

For verbs ending in "e", drop the "e" and add "-ing":

make → making

write → writing

For one-syllable verbs ending in a single vowel followed by a single consonant, double the final consonant before adding "-ing":

run → running

sit → sitting

For verbs ending in "ie", change "ie" to "y" and add "-ing":

lie → lying

die → dying

For verbs ending in a consonant plus "y", simply add "-ing" (do not change the "y" to "i"):

carry → carrying

study → studying

For two-syllable verbs where the stress is on the second syllable, double the final consonant before adding "-ing":

begin → beginning

prefer → preferring

For verbs ending in a vowel followed by "w", "x", or "y", simply add "-ing" (do not double the consonant):

snow → snowing

fix → fixing

play → playing

Check out this list of words with the suffix. You can use this list to build your own activities for your classroom. You can also get a printable .pdf.

suffix -ing word list

More Morphology Practice

Do you love this lesson? You can access all of the morphology lessons for FREE on this website! You can also purchase the presentations!

Base Words

The Suffixes -S and -ES

The Suffix -ING

The Suffix -ER for Comparative Adjectives

The Suffix -EST for Superlative Adjectives

The Suffix -ER for Someone Who

The Suffix -ED for Past Tense Verbs



The Prefix DIS- 


The Prefix IN- Meaning Not

The Suffix -FUL Meaning Full Of

The Suffix -LESS Meaning Without

The Suffix -Y Meaning What Something is Like

The Suffix -LY Meaning How an Action is Done

The Prefix UNDER

The Prefix OVER

The Prefix NON

The Prefix PRE

The Prefixes BI/DI

The Prefix TRI

The Prefix QUAD

The Prefix OCT



The Prefix SEMI

The Prefix SUPER

The Prefix MULTI

The Prefix POLY

The Prefix TELE

The Prefix MID

The Prefix MIS

The Prefix INTER

The Prefix DECA/DECI

The Prefix KILO

The Prefix SUB

The Prefix MILLI/MILLE  

Cate O'Donnell

3 min read

Nov 29, 2023




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