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Gerunds and Infinitives
This is one of people’s biggest problems with English. There’s no fixed rule for this- That’s why it’s so difficult!
The question is this:
When you use two verbs together, for the second verb do you use ‘….ing’ or ‘to …..’?
This is as simple as I can make it, and it comes without a guarantee! (It works 92.73% of the time, under laboratory conditions)
1) After a preposition (not ‘to’)
Give up (smoking)
Carry on (working)
End up (going)
2) Enjoy, like*, love*, fancy, enjoy, dislike, hate*, avoid, prefer*, mind…
Would you mind helping me with my maths?
I don’t like doing homework, but OK!
3) Admit, consider, imagine, suggest, practise, try*
What would you suggest doing?
Try practising your English on Profesor Nativo Gratis! 😉
4) Miss, avoid, risk, postpone
Let’s avoid investing in oil.
I wouldn’t risk losing all our profits this year!
5) Start*, Begin*, Continue*, Finish, Delay..
5) 3-part phrasal verbs
Look forward to (hearing)
Get/Be used to (getting up early)
Get around to (painting the bedroom)
The rest = Infinitive (‘to….’)
Verbs marked * can also use ‘to…’
I prefer eating in = I prefer to eat in, although they generally use ‘…ing’
When these words use ‘would…’ they use ‘to..’ not ‘…ing’:
I like swimming, but: I’d like t swim
I love seeing her, but: I’d love to see her
I hate working there, but: I’d hate to work there
I prefer getting up late, but: I’d prefer to get up late
I’d continue to, etc. etc…
Other typical words:
Neither ‘to..’ nor ‘…ing’:
Modal verbs (can, will, must, should) are followed by the verb only:
I must go.
He could tell us.
There are other ‘semi-modals’ which work in the same way:
‘d rather (I’d rather go tomorrow)
Let’s (Let’s have a coffee)
‘d better (You’d better see the doctor)
Words that use ‘to…’ and ‘…ing’, with different meanings:
There is a difference between…
Stop TO do something = Stop something because you want to do sonething else.
Stop doING something = Finish
I’ve stopped smoking = I don’t smoke anymore.
I stopped to smoke = I was working and I decided to have a cigarette break.
Remember (or Regret) doING something = Remember having done something before.
Remember (or Regret) TO do something = Tell yourself that you will do something.
Where’s the bread? I remember buying it in the baker’s!
Remember to buy some bread.
I regret to tell you that you have not passed our application process
I regret telling him that- now everybody knows!
…Now, it’s your turn!
Choose whether to use ‘…ing’ or ‘to…’, or simply the base infinitive.
In some questions, more than one answer is correct- choose them all, and try not to look at the list above- I’m looking!
Gerunds / Infinitives
Gerunds / Infinitives