"Burning house" is an active adjective. But i cant figure out how is that -ing form in burning house make the word as an active adj. How can we differ burning house and burnt house..

  • 1
    "Ing" tells us about something in progress whereas "burnt " means a completed action "nothing left"
    – V.V.
    Feb 3, 2016 at 15:09
  • 2
    Both are particoples, Present Participle and Past Participle
    – V.V.
    Feb 3, 2016 at 15:16

2 Answers 2


We can speak about participles here. There are different forms but we meet only two of them in your question. They are "burning " which is Present Participle and "burnt " which is called Past Participle.

Present Participles express actions in progress. "Burning " actually means "on fire".

Past Participles have passive meaning and that of a finished action. "Burnt " means that the process was completed and the house doesn't exist any more.

  • I just want to add that just because something is burnt doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Consider a burnt piece of toast. The toast is still there, just blackened. The same could apply to a house. In contrast a "burnt down" house would no longer exist.
    – Sarah
    Feb 3, 2016 at 21:07
  • Thanks, it was just a vivid expression, you are quite right.
    – V.V.
    Feb 4, 2016 at 1:48

Burning and burnt are both adjectives used in front of the noun house. You can say that the former is active, but the latter is not.

When you use the phrase "a burning house", it means a house that's still burning or on fire, whereas a burnt house is a house that's already damaged by burning.


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