I saw a phrase saying “protruding eye”. Shouldn’t it be “protruded” ? I couldn’t understand why -ing is used instead of -ed and how the -ing form is used as an adjective here.

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    Please give the whole phrase. "protruding" is almost certainly correct but we can't be 100% certain without the full context. Mar 23, 2019 at 18:45
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    most adjectives are ing. That said, his eye protruded: He has a protruding eye.
    – Lambie
    Mar 23, 2019 at 18:49
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    @Lambie -- Your comment is the start of a good answer.
    – Jasper
    Mar 23, 2019 at 20:06

3 Answers 3


Many adjectives are ing, though there are also ones with ed or the irregular past participle. The meanings can change, too.

  • protruding eye [like lizards, a regular type of eye for a lizard]
  • protruded eye would be a regular eye that had damage done to it. A forensic analysis by have a term like that in it after a crime or accident.
  • broken record [as in for music]; you sound like a broken record (repetitive); one that has been broken.
  • breaking news: news that is emerging in the present time. Broken news is not a term.
  • flying aces: pilots from WWI.
  • flown routes: routes that have been flown by a pilot.

When the ing form is used, it is just a regular adjective. When the past participle is used, it often means something was done to the object.

  • moving vehicles, vehicles in motion, that are moving
  • moved vehicles, vehicles that have been moved

  • floating beacons, ones that float

  • floated beacons, ones that were put in the water and floated

You can often take the verb and analyze it as: an x that [verb] versus an x that has been [verb,past participle].

Often that helps to make the meaning clear.


protruding itself is an adjective and it means sticking out or projecting.
Therefore it is correct to say protruding eyes


Protrude is a verb.

Some verbs with the added suffix -ing act as adjectives. Protruding here is defining the characteristic of eyes.

Similar adjectives are "Interesting" ,"Exciting"

-ed is also used to turn verbs into adjectives. For example "Excited" and "Exciting" both are adjectives with different suffix

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