Gerund x Infinitive

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Hi everyone!

This week I decided to come up with an interesting post about the difference between gerund and infinitive, most of my students ask me questions about this topic so I hope you all learn with this mini lesson and enjoy it!

Gerunds and infinitives are forms of verbs that act like nouns. They can follow adjectives and other verbs. Gerunds can also follow prepositions.

A gerund (often known as an -ing word) is a noun formed from a verb by adding -ing. See also Nouns/Gerund. Not all words formed with -ing are gerunds.

An infinitive is to + the verb.

When a verb follows a verb it either takes the gerund or infinitive form.

Some verbs can take either the gerund or the infinitive with no loss of meaning.

For example:

  • With the verb start – “It started to rain.” or “It started raining.” Both sentences have the same meaning.

Sometimes the use of the gerund or infinitive changes the meaning of the sentence.

For example:

  • With the verb stop – I stopped to smoke. / I stopped smoking.

Gerunds after Prepositions

When a verb is used after a preposition the verb takes the -ing form.

For example:-

  • You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Verbs that are normally followed by the gerund form:-

acknowledge | admit | adore | anticipate | appreciate | avoid | celebrate | confess | contemplate  / delay | deny | describe | detest | discuss | dislike | dread | endure | enjoy
fancy | finish | imagine | involve | keep | justify | mention | mind | miss | omit | postpone | practice / quit | recall | recommend | regret | report | resent | resume | risk | suggest | tolerate | understand

  • I adore reading your books.
  • They anticipated winning the election.
  • I detest going to discos.
  • We postponed making any decision in the meeting.
  • I quit smoking.
  • Do you recall seeing someone like that?

Verbs which are normally followed by the infinitive form:

afford | agree | appear | arrange | ask | attempt | care | choose | claim | come | consent
dare | decide | demand | deserve | determine | elect | endeavor | expect | fail | get | guarantee / hate | help | hesitate | hope | hurry | incline | intend | learn | long | manage | mean | need  / offer | plan | prepare | pretend | promise | refuse | resolve | say | seem | tend | threaten | want | wish

  • I can’t afford to go to the pub.
  • He agreed to practice
  • You should learn to express
  • They managed to fix the problem.

Verbs which can be followed by the gerund or infinitive form:

With no change in meaning

begin | continue | hate | like | love | neglect | prefer | start | try

  • He began to learn English when he was eight.
  • He began learning English when he was eight.
  • I hate to leave.
  • I hate leaving.

Here is a PDF file with more guidelines and exercises to practice.



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