After I put in eye drops, I need to keep the head still and in a state that it is fixed at a tipping position for 2 minutes so that more drops get into my eyes and don't come out too much.

The verb "tip" or "lean" are action verbs which means to move the head into a slanting position.

I am not sure if we have any adjectives deriving from the verb "tip" or "lean".

We have the adjective "still". I can just say "keep your head still" (keep something adjective). But it is partially correct as I need to let people know my head is still at a slanting position.

Or I can just say "tip your head far back and then keep it still in that position".

What about "keep your head tipping far back"? It sounds like the head keeps moving to the back repeatedly.

  • 15
    I would say "tipped".
    – Peter
    Commented Apr 25 at 3:37
  • 10
    And I would say "tilted". Commented Apr 25 at 8:41
  • It matches expressions like "Keep your mouth closed", "keep your knees bent", or "Keep your eyes peeled". In some cases "-ing" would be fine, but in others it isn't as good ("bending" can refer to maintaining a bend rather than moving, but "bent" is still commoner). It's easier to use the same structure in every case.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 25 at 12:42
  • 1
    With instructions, it's always good to be as precise and explicit as possible, something like: "Tilt your head back as far as you can comfortably to be looking up at the ceiling, then maintain that position without moving your head for two minutes."
    – user8356
    Commented Apr 25 at 14:09
  • Keep your head tipped/tilted backwards for two minutes without moving. Commented Apr 25 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


We can form adjectives from both "tip" and "lean". Both verbs are correct here, and "tip" is probably preferred. The problem isn't your choice of verb, but your choice of participle.

"Keep your head tipping back" indicates a continuous action. I'm picturing someone's head tipping farther and farther back for 2 minutes like in a horror movie.

Past participial adjectives describe the state of something after the verb has has already happened, so that's what you want:

Keep your head tipped back."

  • 2
    +1 for the past participial form "tipped back". We could also say "Keep tipping your head back" and "keep tipping" wouldn't mean farther and farther but merely to maintain that pose or posture.
    – TimR
    Commented Apr 25 at 10:33
  • 5
    Is there a regional element to this?  For example, there seem to be common US usages such as ‘heaping spoonful’ which sound just as wrong to these UK ears as ‘tipping’ does here.
    – gidds
    Commented Apr 25 at 15:02
  • 2
    @Matthew In the UK, we do indeed say "heaped spoonful" rather than "heaping spoonful". Collins also gives "heaped" in this context as "in British English" and "heaping" as "[US]". Commented Apr 25 at 16:57
  • 4
    @Matthew ‘overflowing’ would be different, because it's something done by the spoon('s contents); ‘heaping’, however, is something that you do when filling it.  By the time you hold it aloft, you have finished heaping it — it has been heaped.  So here in the UK, taking ‘a heaping spoonful’ sounds just as wrong as would taking ‘a packing lunch’ or a dish of ‘roasting beef’.
    – gidds
    Commented Apr 25 at 16:59
  • 3
    @Matthew, I'm chipping in as another UK speaker, and the "heaping pile of rocks" sounds as alien to me as "heaping spoonful" - I'd use "heaped" for both. But there is a certain tower in Italy that I'd describe as "leaning", so we're at the usual level of consistency for the English language! Commented Apr 26 at 16:45

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