-ing1 of 3
-ing3 of 3
verb suffix or adjective suffix
Though the pronunciation of -ing with the consonant \n\, misleadingly referred to as "dropping the g," is often deprecated, this pronunciation is frequently heard. It is not known for certain why the Middle English present participle ending -ende was replaced by -ing. Analogy with the earlier noun suffix -ing probably had something to do with it. In early Modern English, present participles were regularly formed with -ing pronounced \iŋg\ (as can still be heard in a few dialects) and later \iŋ\. Evidence also shows that some speakers used \in\ and by the 18th century this pronunciation became widespread. Though teachers (with some success) campaigned against it, \in\ remained a feature of the speech of many of the best speakers in Britain and the U.S. well into the 20th century. It has by now lost its respectability, at least when attention is drawn to it, but throughout the U.S. it persists largely unnoticed, and in some dialects it predominates over \iŋ\.