The Original Poster's explanation is fairly accurate. Here is a more in depth account:
Agents and patients
In the sentence:
Bob is the person doing the action. In grammar, we say that Bob is the AGENT of the punching action. Me, the person receiving the punches, I'm the PATIENT. I am the recipient of the punching action. Now look at this sentence:
The grammar of this sentence is different, but Bob is still the agent, and I am still the patient of this sentence. Bob is doing the action. The action is being done to me.
Now, some adjectives explain how nouns do things, sometimes to other people or things. Here are some examples:
- The DJ played annoying music all night.
- The elephant told us an interesting story.
- Rain supplies life-giving water to the plants in the forest.
Notice that in these examples the music has the effect of annoying people. The story has the property of interesting people. The water has the property of giving life to other things. These -ING adjectives describe potential actions:
- annoying, interesting, giving life
The nouns that these adjectives describe, are the potential AGENTS of the actions. In the phrase
.. the word music describes the agent of the annoying action. ING-adjectives usually describe the AGENTS of the potential action.
However, adjectives ending in -ED are different! This is because ED-adjectives normally describe the PATIENTS of actions.
- The bored students went to sleep.
- The excited monkeys started howling.
- Happy customers are easier to talk to than annoyed customers
In the sentences above, the students didn't bore anybody. Something or somebody bored them. They were the recipients of a boring people action. Similarly, something excited the monkeys. The monkeys didn't excite anybody. In the last sentence, something annoyed the customers. They did not annoy somebody else.
*annoyed habit (wrong)
*excited news (wrong)
ING adjectives describe the AGENTS of actions. But ED ones describe the PATIENTS of actions. Annoyed habit is wrong, because nothing annoyed the habit! Habits don't have feelings, so it is very difficult to annoy habits! In the same way, "news" doesn't have feelings. We can't excite the news! Of course the news can excite people and habits can annoy people. For this reason, exciting news and annoying habits would be correct.
In other words, the Original Poster is correct.
This is frightenING:
This is frightenED