A) In Germany, there is a growing number of children addicted to playing computer games.

B) In Germany, there is an increasing number of children addicted to playing computer games.

Question : I have been told that 'growing' in sentence A is an adjective while 'increasing' in sentence B is a verb. Is this correct ? If yes,why ?

Thank you.

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Original Post
Since both "growing" and "increasing" are participles in your sentences, and the participle can be considered an adjective, then both are adjectives.

Michael Swan in Practical English Usage* says this:

"Participles can be used like adjectives:

I love the sound of falling rain...
John has become very boring.

Swan also says:

"We can use -ing forms (e.g. smoking, walking) not only as verbs, but also like adjectives, adverbs or nouns. Compare:

You're smoking too much these days. (part of present progressive verb)
There was a smoking cigarette end in the ashtray. (adjective describing cigarette end)
She walked out of the room smoking. (similar to an adverb)
Smoking is bad for you. (noun: subject of sentence)"

Quirk** shows the gradation from deverbal nouns (some paintings of Brown's) via verbal nouns (I dislike Brown's painting ) to participles (the silently painting man is Brown) in thirteen steps in Section 17.54. In this description, you can see how the –-ing form performs thirteen varying functions.

The category of "verb" does not seem to be descriptive enough for the function of the participle in your sentences; "adjective" does. It does, however, classify both "growing" and "increasing" as the part of speech the words come from: the verb.

*Practical English Usage by Michael Swan. Oxford University Press. 1995
**A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech and Svartvik. Longman. 1985
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