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Gerund and Infinitive With Verbs

Gerund and Infinitive With Verbs

In this lesson we have verbs whose meanings change after they are followed by Gerund or Infinitive and verbs whose meanings do not change.

Verbs that change their meaning by Gerund and Infinitive


Verbs that change their meaning when followed by Gerund or Infinitive:

1. Forget

A: Infinitive :To look to the future:

  • Don't forget to spend money on the tickets.

B: Gerund: To look at the past:

  • He'll never forget spending so much money on his first computer.

2. Go on

A: Infinitive: To change the activity:

  • Go on to read the text.

B: Gerund: To continue the same:

  • Go on reading the text.

3. Mean

A: Infinitive: When you want to do something:

  • I meant to phone your mother, but my mobile didn't work.

B: Gerund: When something must be done to get a result:

  • You have forgotten your homework again. That means phoning your mother.

4. Regret

A: Infinitive: To tell us bad news that you are not happy with:

  • We regret to inform you that the flight has been delayed for another two hours. 

B: Gerund: I did something in the past that I'm not happy with:

  • I regret being late for school.

5. Remember

A: Infinitive: To look to the future:

    • Remember to switch off the lights when you go on holiday.

B: Gerund: To look at the past: 

  • I remember switching off the lights when I went on holiday.

6. Try

A: Infinitive: To do something is not easy: 

  • Try to be quiet when you come home late. 

B: Gerund: To test something: 

  • I tried taking an aspirin but it didn't help.

7. Like

Usually there is no difference in meaning as the following sentence: 

  • I like reading books. = I like to read books.

A: Gerund: When using like or enjoy. 

  • I like riding my bike.

B: Infinitive: When you do something usual.

  • I like to do my homework in the afternoon. (I think, it is good to do my homework in the afternoon).

Note the following examples:

  • I like watching films.
  • I would like to watch the film.

8. Be afraid

A: Gerund: When you worry about something. 

  • I'm afraid of having an accident.

In other cases there is no difference in meaning whether we use Gerund or Infinitive, eg: 

  • I'm afraid to go by bike on this road. = I'm afraid of going by bike on this road. 

9. Need

If we use Gerund after "Need", the sentence has a negative meaning, for example: 

  • The window needs cleaning.

10. Used to

A: Used to + Gerund means that a person is aware of something, for example: 

  • He is used to smoking. (He still smokes.)

B: Used to + Infinitive means that the person has done something. In the past, for example:

  • He used to smoke. (He does not smoke any more.)

Verbs whose meaning does not change by Gerund and Infinitive

1. These verbs can be followed by the verb form Gerund and Infinitive without changing their meanings with To or without To. There is no difference in meaning.


A. Begin 

  • Gerund: He began talking.
  • Infinitive: He began to talk.

B. Continue

  • Gerund: They continue smoking.
  • Infinitive: They continue to smoke.

C. Hate

  • Gerund: Do you hate working on Saturdays?
  • Infinitive: Do you hate to work on Saturdays?

D. Like

  • Gerund: I like swimming.
  • Infinitive: I like to swim.

E. Love

  • Gerund: She loves painting.
  • Infinitive: She loves to paint.

F. Prefer

  • Gerund: Pat prefers walking home.
  • Infinitive: Pat prefers to walk home.
G. Start
  • Gerund: They start singing.
  • Infinitive: They start to sing.

2. These verbs can also be followed by gerund or infinitive without changing their meanings from the compound with infinitive.

Structures: (Gerund: Verb + ing) (Infinitive: Verb + Person (as object) + infinitive with to)


A. Advise

  • Gerund: They advise walking to town.
  • Infinitive: They advise us to walk to town.

B. Allow

  • Gerund: They do not allow smoking here.
  • Infinitive: They do not allow us to smoke here.
C. Encourage
  • Gerund: They encourage doing the test.
  • Infinitive: They encourage us to do the test.
D. Permit
  • Gerund: They do not permit smoking here.
  • Infinitive: They do not permit us to smoke here.

3. When recommend is followed by the infinitive, put "that" after "recommend", then the "object", then the "infinitive without TO".

  • Gerund: They recommend walking.
  • Infinitive: They recommend that we walk.
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