Nouns are sometimes post-modified with an ing-clause. These are non-finiteSee the glossary definition participleSee the glossary definition clauses.
The ing-clause gives more information about the headword. Ing-clauses are less common than ed-clausesSee the glossary definition and cannot always be rewritten as a relative clause with a verb in the passiveSee the glossary definition voice.
These clauses are known as ing-clauses because they are participleSee the glossary definition clauses (in this case present participle).
memorieshead noun phrase occurring below the age of threeing-clause (context)However, psychological research suggests that memories occurring below the age of three are highly unusual – and indeed, highly improbable.
This ing-clause, "occurring below the age of three", is a restrictive ing-clause. Without it the sentence would make little sense.
a hypothesis,head noun phrase dating back to the 1960s,ing-clause (context) This idea goes against a hypothesis, dating back to the 1960s, known as the “Man-The-Hunter model”, which is increasingly being debunked.
This ing-clause, "dating back to the 1960s", is a non-restrictive ing-clause. It gives extra non-essential information about the hypothesisSee the glossary definition , in this case when it was conceived. Note also that this sentence contains an ed-clause, "known as the 'Man-The-Hunter model'", and also a relative clause, "which is increasingly being debunked".
the Moonhead noun phrase passing in front of the Sun at a certain distance from Earthing-clause (context)They realised this from solar eclipses, caused by the Moon passing in front of the Sun at a certain distance from Earth.
Note that this restrictive ing-clause is embedded in an ed-clauseSee the glossary definition beginning "caused by the Moon" and "the Moon" is part of a prepositional phrase. This kind of embedding of one modifying clause inside another is common in academic texts dense with information.
all living beings,head noun phrase including using-clause, (context)Evolution explains how all living beings, including us, came to be.
This is a non-restrictive ing-clause, enclosed in commas. Most non-restrictve clauses are enclosed in commas, but they may also be enclosed in parentheses as in the example below.
the deuterostomes head noun phrase (including humans)ing-clause and the ecdysozoans head noun phrase (including insects)ing-clause (context)Two of the major lineages, the deuterostomes ( including humans) and the ecdysozoans ( including insects), showed the largest number of gene losses.
Sometimes an ing-clause can be quite long, as in the example below.
dials on the exterior,head noun phrase (dials) post-modified with a prepositional phrase showing the phases of the Moon, the timing of lunar eclipses, and the positions of the five planets then known (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) at different times of the year. ing-clause (context)When manually rotated by a handle, the gears span dials on the exterior showing the phases of the Moon, the timing of lunar eclipses, and the positions of the five planets then known (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) at different times of the year.
The ing-clause starting with "showing" governs three different noun phrases, each of which contains at lest one prepositional phrase: 1. the phases of the Moon; 2. the timing of lunar eclipses; 3. the positions of the five planets then known (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) at different times of the year.
There are a few verbs which occur often in ing-clauses such as involving, containing, consisting, including, resulting. Here are two examples with consisting and containing:
balls of plasmahead noun phrase consisting of hydrogen and heliuming-clause (context)These are actually balls of plasma (very hot gas) consisting of hydrogen and helium.
graveshead noun phrase containing similar tools associated with big-game huntinging-clause (context)The authors of the study, published in Science Advances, also reviewed evidence of other skeletons buried around the same period in the Americas, looking specifically at graves containing similar tools associated with big-game hunting.
Test your understanding with the Ing-Clauses Quiz.
These examples were sourced from articles in The Conversation: Memories; Female Hunters; Greek Astronomy; Evolution; Stars;