Basic notes about gerunds and infinitives
Using gerunds and infinitives can sometimes be challenging, especially when using one instead of the other. Gerunds are defined as verbs put in the present participle form. That is, verbs that take the ing-forms, such as writing, doing, speaking, having, etc.
Infinitives, on the other hand, are referred to as verbs that have “to” at the beginning like to play, to cook, to get, to read, etc. This means that these verbs are not conjugated in any tense.
When do we put verbs in the gerund form (ing-form)?
A verb takes the gerund form in the following cases:
1. If it comes after a preposition
Take a look at the examples below:
- I dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
- She always goes to bed after brushing her teeth.
- They are interested in going to the mountains.
2. If they are used as subjects at the beginning of the sentence
Look at the examples below:
- Cycling is my favorite sport.
- Cooking is Sarah’s hobby.
- Getting a good job can sometimes be very difficult.
3. If they function as objects following a verb
- I want to quit smoking as soon as possible.
- Anna loves riding horses.
- We should avoid eating junk food whenever we can.
4. Some verbs are directly followed by a gerund (ing-form)
- Susan can’t help crying when she remembers her dead father.
- They celebrated being spouses for more than 20 years.
- The Browns are considering moving to a new apartment.
Here is a list of common verbs and expressions followed by gerunds
|Abhor||She abhors being looked down upon.|
|Acknowledge||The employee acknowledged asking his coworkers to go on strike.|
|Admit||The criminal admitted killing the man and his wife.|
|Appreciate||I appreciate attending his lectures.|
|Avoid||The parents avoid leaving their children alone at home.|
|Be worth||The book is worth reading.|
|Can’t help||I can’t help going to bed early after a long day of hard work.|
|Can’t stand||Mr. Dividson can’t stand intervening when sees unjust things.|
|Can’t support||Barbara can’t support spending all her money on technology gadgets|
|Celebrate||The Dickens family will celebrate living in their villa for the third decade.|
|Consider||Elizabeth is considering leaving her job to immigrate to Australia.|
|Crazy about||Kids are crazy about playing video games.|
|Defend||James defends spending most of his time watching Westerns.|
|Delay||The school officials have delayed organizing the first semester exams next month.|
|Detest||I detest studying physics and maths in French.|
|Continue||The UN continues providing financial aid to refugees all over the world.|
|Discuss||We will meet this afternoon to discuss modifying some of the school regulations.|
|Dislike||I dislike working in the morning.|
|Endure||The blacks endured fighting racism for many decades.|
|Enjoy||Both girls and boys enjoyed dancing at the party.|
|Escape||The soldier escaped being captured by the enemies.|
|Explain||The company manager explained to me doing business online.|
|Fear||Nadir fears nearing wild animals.|
|Finish||I haven’t finished setting up my project yet.|
|Fond of||I am fond of cycling.|
|Keen on||Barbara is keen on going to concerts.|
|Keep||“Keep working like that,” the father told his son.|
|Mad about||My little daughter is mad about watching cartoons.|
|Mention||In his last lecture, the professor mentioned starting to prepare for another doctoral degree.|
|Miss||Yesterday, I missed catching the 8:00 train.|
|Necessitate||This problem necessitates taking extra measures.|
|Permit||The authorities will permit chasing animals in this zone.|
|Postpone||The spouses have postponed organizing their wedding party for another month.|
|Practice||Do you still practice playing the guitar?|
|Recall||I recall seeing this guy somewhere.|
|Recommend||I recommend ensuring your car against all risks.|
|Report||The army reports preventing the enemy from bombarding the city.|
|Resist||Colored people resisted facing racial laws in western countries.|
|Resume||Learners will resume taking their English lessons.|
|Risk||By doing this, you risk losing your job.|
|Shun||The majority of young people shun getting involved in politics.|
|Suggest||The doctor suggests taking these pills twice a day.|
|Support||My parents support establishing a business instead of looking for a 9-5 job.|
|Understand||I can’t understand complaining about everything.|
When do we use infinitives with “to” (to+verb)?
We use infinitives with “to” in the following cases:
1. After certain verbs
Take a look at these examples:
- Anna and George decided to get married.
- Alexandra wants to go to university after getting her baccalaureate.
- Morocco and England have agreed to establish bilateral relations.
2. After most adjectives
- This exercise is difficult to do
- I find hiking tough to practice.
- Social issues are not always easy to deal with.
3. To indicate purpose
Look at the following examples:
- I’d like to leave my job to start a business.
- Mary goes to the supermarket to do the shopping.
- Andrew met his uncle, Pablo, to discuss some family problems.
Here is a list of common verbs and expressions that are followed by the infinitive with “to”
|Agree||Joseph and Richard agreed to settle their problem peacefully.|
|Appear||Jennifer appears to have some psychological problems.|
|Arrange||Jessica and Thomas arranged to take the driving test together next month.|
|Ask||The teacher asked us to write a paragraph about ourselves at home.|
|Attempt||Charles attempted to cross the flooded river but he couldn’t.|
|Beg||The son begged his father to forgive him.|
|Choose||Daniel chose to rent a private room.|
|Claim||Christopher claims to know the killer.|
|Come||Matthew will come to see me tomorrow afternoon.|
|Decide||Margaret decided to work as a social assistant.|
|Demand||Lisa demanded to get vaccinated against Covid19.|
|Deserve||I believe that Sandra deserves to be awarded the prize.|
|Determine||I am determined to take on the challenge.|
|Endeavor||The workers endeavored to satisfy their boss.|
|Expect||Steven and his wife, Karen, are expected to arrive at 6:00 p.m.|
|Fail||Susan failed to pass the test for a second time.|
|Guarantee||The company guaranteed to replace the item in case of malfunction.|
|Hesitate||Ashely hesitated to accept Paul’s marriage offer, but, in the end, she gave her consent.|
|Hope||I hope to get a visa for Canada.|
|Hurry||They hurried to save the baby.|
|Incline||He is inclined to make videos about all the scenes that are exciting.|
|Learn||Tim and his wife, Laura, learned to avoid risks before they happen.|
|Manage||Kevin managed to finish his project before the end of the year.|
|Mean||Amanda didn’t mean to hurt you.|
|Need||I need to think deeply about this decision.|
|Offer||The passers-by offered to help me start my car but I refused.|
|Plan||Carol is planning to spend her summer holidays in Turkey.|
|Prepare||Melissa and Timothy are preparing to move to a new apartment.|
|Pretend||She pretends to be sick.|
|Promise||I promised to do everything she told me.|
|Refuse||Most workers refused to work at night.|
|Request||The student requested to talk to the headmaster.|
|Seem||English seems to be difficult to learn, but, in reality, it is not.|
|Strive||Ronald strives to meet all his wife’s needs.|
|Struggle||In some countries, women are still struggling to get their freedom and equality with men.|
|Swear||I swear to abide by the law of the country I live in.|
|Tend||Women tend to give more importance to their appearances.|
|Threaten||The kidnappers threatened to kill the boy if they don’t receive the money demanded.|
|Volunteer||Most people volunteered to help those inflicted by the disaster.|
|Wait||They waited to get their share of the heritage.|
|Want||I want to go home as soon as possible.|
|Wish||I wish to see you in better condition.|
|Would like||I would like to have a cup of coffee, please.|
When do we use infinitives without “to” (bare infinitives)?
1. After modals/auxiliary verbs
Take a look at the examples below:
- Drivers must respect the driving code.
- Although she is still 15, Sarah can cook very well.
- Students should revise their lessons regularly.
2. After certain verbs (let and make)
- Mrs. Brown never lets her daughter, Alexandra, go out alone.
- You always make me wait for hours.
3. After verbs of perception (feel, watch, see, hear, notice)
- Every evening, I hear Mary quarrel with her husband.
- The neighbors saw the thief steal the car.
- The waiter noticed the woman leave the restaurant without paying.
4. After the expression “why (not)”
- Why not use alternative medicines?
- Why ask for help if you can fix the problem yourself?
Here is a list of common verbs and expressions followed by infinitives without “to”
|Can||I can lift 100 kilos.|
|Could||When Brian was young, he could run very fast.|
|May||Edward may get a good job because he is highly skilled.|
|Might||Rebecca might fly to London this month.|
|Will||It will be sunny and hot tomorrow.|
|Would||They said it would rain torrentially.|
|Needn’t||You needn’t wear thick clothes. The weather is quite warm.|
|Must||Dorothy must see a doctor as soon as possible. Her condition is critical.|
|Mustn’t||People mustn’t smoke in public places.|
|Have to||I have to leave now.|
|Shall||Emily shall spend the rest of her life alone.|
|Should||You should apologize to your father.|
|Ought to||You ought to ask your teacher for permission before leaving the classroom.|
|Had better||You had better take these pills after meals.|
|Do||I do apologize for the hurt I caused you.|
|Would rather||We would rather quit before the police arrive.|
|Would sooner||The soldiers would sooner die than surrender.|
|Why (not)||Why not go on a diet?|
|Hear||I always hear her sing French songs.|
|See||The neighbors saw the thief break into the house through the window.|
|Notice||We noticed him tremble because of the cold.|
|Feel||The mother feels her daughter suffer.|
|Watch||The teacher watched the student cheat in the exam.|
|Make||Your behavior makes me feel you are guilty.|
|Let||Please, let me see your drawing.|
Exercise about gerunds and infinitives
Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verbs.
- You ought to ……………….. the grammar mistakes in your essay. (correct – to correct – correcting)
- I don’t want ………………….. there alone. (go – to go – going)
- You needn’t ………………… anything else. (do – to do – doing)
- I can’t bear ……………… to that guy. He is too boring. (talk – to talk – talking)
- Can you show me how to ……………….. the machine, please? (operate – to operate – operating)
- Jane heard Nancy ………………… to him. (whisper – to whisper – whispering)
- Students can’t do this task without ……………….. with each other. (collaborate – to collaborate – collaborating)
- The police forced the suspect ………………… the truth. (say – to say – saying)
- They made him ……………. the document unknowingly. (sign – to sign – signing)
- The officials didn’t ………………. dogs enter the zoo. (let – to let – letting)
- You will not ……………… the apples if you don’t stand on your tip-toes. (reach – to reach – reaching)
- I advised my son ……………….. smoking as soon as possible. (give up – to give up – giving up)
- Dorothy loves …………………. plants. (water – to water – watering)
- I can’t stand ………………….. women scream. (hear – to hear – hearing)
- The family could hear the noise of the cat ……………… away. (run – to run – running)
- If you don’t ……………….. hard, you won’t be able to finish on time. (work – to work – working)
- I can ……………….. the time when we first met at school. (remember – to remember – remembering)
- ……………. everybody is sometimes risky. (trust – to trust – trusting)
- The company manager is strongly interested in …………….. a look at your CV. (take – to take – taking)
- Edward dislikes ……………….. lottery tickets. (buy – to buy – buying)