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Singing in the rain


    This young lady is singing in the rain, and dancing in the rain, and splashing in the puddles in the rain. Photo by James White/flickr.

    -If you are as old as I am, you probably remember a Hollywood film called Singing in the Rain. That was Gene Kelly singing a song from that film. In the film he was indeed ‘singing in the rain’, and ‘dancing in the rain’ as well, and fooling around with an umbrella in the rain. Of course, you probably noticed that he says ‘singin’ in the rain’ instead of ‘singing in the rain’. That is the way that many Americans, and quite a lot of English people too, pronounce words that end in “-ing”.

    -And this podcast is about words which end in “-ing”. Your English teacher may have a special name, like “gerund”, for these words. But I am just going to call them “-ing” words. You can make an “-ing” word by adding the letters ING to the end of any English verb – any verb at all, no exceptions. OK, sometimes you have to change the spelling a bit, because as you know we English love to make spelling difficult. But the sound is the same – “ing” (-or “in’” -if you are Gene Kelly). Go on – make a few “-ing” words now, while I am talking – yes, “talking”, that’s an “-ing” word, so are running, jumping, standing, sleeping, reading, eating…..and so on.

    So now we have some “-ing” words, what can we do with them? The exciting answer to this question is that we can do almost anything with an “-ing” word. We can use it as an adjective, for example. If we see a child who is asleep, we can call her “a sleeping child”. If we see a baby who is crying, we can call it a “crying baby”. If we see a car that is going too fast, we can call it a “speeding car”. And if you want to swim, you go to a “swimming pool”.

    We can also use our “-ing” word as a noun. We can say, for example, “I like reading”, or “I think that spelling is very difficult

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