• The situation was going irritating at that time.
  • I am starting eating my breakfast now.

Are these statements correct? Can I use two -ing words together? Can you explain by giving few more examples?

  • 2
    Side note: We don't say "going irritating" but "getting irritating" or "becoming irritating".
    – Jay
    Jan 23, 2014 at 21:43

3 Answers 3


There is no rule forbidding two -ing forms close or next to each other if the idiom requires it.

We're going fishing/hunting/dancing.

However, most speakers avoid using similar constructions close to each other, except when they are deliberately emphasizing a parallelism. Consequently, your second example would usually employ a different construction:

I'm starting to eat my breakfast now.

The pressure is not so strong in your first example, however, since irritating has today the status of an independent adjective. It has been, as the linguists say, ‘deverbalized’, so it is not perceived as a present participle. “The situation was getting irritating” would not be strenuously avoided.

  • 1
    I have to disagree. In my American dialect, the two sentences are just wrong. Those second -ing verbs should be infinitives, as KA points out.
    – swbarnes2
    Jan 24, 2014 at 7:26
  • As far as I know there is a rule. Can't remember the name, but according to that rule it's fine to say "keep doing", but not "keeping doing". However I believe your first sentence is correct. But I still have some doubt, because being a non native speaker I tend to rely on rules, and that rule forbids such constructions. But rules has always exceptions. But my point is there is a rule. Mar 19, 2016 at 19:09

Two gerunds cannot be put together when they both function as verb inflections:

I am starting *eating | to eat my breakfast.

If a gerund functions as a genuine noun, then another gerund can be put in front of it it, if that gerund functions as another noun, adjective, or verb inflection:

Starting running again after many months of inactivity is difficult. [verb-ing + noun]

The leaking plumbing was repaired. [adjective + noun]

The marketing meeting went well. [noun + noun]


The two examples you gave are not correct as written. They should be:

  • The situation was getting irritating at that time.
  • I am starting to eat my breakfast now.

There doesn't appear to be a consistent rule for two "-ing" words in a row, based on these examples.

  • Can you give few more examples where two -ing are together?
    – hellodear
    Jan 23, 2014 at 18:29
  • Joe was considering buying irritating bling. (I could insert a swear word to get five -ing's. Real foul language would go up to six).
    – gnasher729
    Mar 20, 2016 at 14:44

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