Starting sentences with ing words – Yes you can!

starting sentences with ing words - yes you can

Starting sentences with past or present participles


Past participle definition

: word formed from a verb to express completed action, that is traditionally one of the principal parts of the verb, traditionally used in English in the formation of perfect tenses in the active voice and of all tenses in the passive voice. (Verbs ending with ED)

Present participle definition

: expresses present action in relation to the time expressed by the finite verb in its clause and that in English formed with the suffix -ing and is used in the formation of the progressive tenses. (Verbs ending with ING)

In short? Take a verb, conjugate it, and add ING or ED. BUT they can also function like nouns (gerunds) or adjective.

Starting sentences with ing words - Yes you can!

Why writers can’t start sentences with ING or ED words?

Editors demand no sentence starts with an ING or ED verb, noun or adjective. Therefore, style police, reviewers like myself, and bloggers demand the same. Is it grammatically incorrect to start with an ING or ED word? NO. If we buck the old myths of starting sentences with prepositions, why is this a hard and fast rule?

Most authors do not know how to write the sentence correctly, and most participles are progressive or passive. Never write a book in the passive or progressive voice (be verbs like, be, were, was, have) always active! Therefore, who wants to wade through the rare correct use of ING adjectives and gerunds starting sentences? Already, we do not want to see ING verbs in the meat of sentences because it dilutes the impact of the action.


Verb present participle: Shooting stars danced across the sky.

Noun (gerund) participle: Sneezing exhausts Steve.

Adjective participle: Tempting cookie platters salivated my mouth.

What is the hang-up with starting a sentence with an ING verb? Wait for it… dangling participles created by pesky prepositions and pronouns.

  • Wrong: Sitting on the hill, the sun disappeared behind the cloud bank.
  • Right: Sitting on the hill, I watched the sun disappeared behind the cloud bank.
  • Wrong: Covered in sticky honey, I licked the candy. (OH, REALLY! kinky)
  • Right: I licked the candy covered in sticky honey. (Too many clauses are not good so we eliminated a clause.)
  • The sun did not directly complete the verb to disappear. The sun is not a magician.

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