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Infinitive and Gerund Constructions

Sometimes one verb can be used after another verb. Often the second verb is in the infinitive
form; but sometimes the second verb must be in the gerund. This depends on the first verb.

The –ing form focuses on:


Using a gerund suggests that you are referring to real activities or experiences.
an action or state before the action of the first verb :
She admitted taking a bribe
She finished doing her accounts yesterday
the activity itself. The second verb functions like a noun:
They have postponed launching the new model
I dislike travelling
“go” + sports or recreational activities usually take a gerund
Let’s go shopping
They went skiing
After a preposition you should use a gerund
I will talk with you before going to lunch

Verbs often followed by the gerund


admit give up enjoy can’t stand suggest
carry on mind consider look forward to,

The to-infinitive form focuses on:


Using an infinitive suggests that you are talking about potential or possible activities or
experiences
Show a purpose :
They’ve decided to go ahead with the idea
Show a future action (intention):
I expect to see them in Taiwan shortly
I’ve arranged to see the technical people tomorrow
Show a reason:
We are sad to hear about your difficulties

Verbs often followed by the infinitive:


attempt promise plan offer hope seem
wish pretend fail arrange guarantee

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Certain verbs are followed by either an infinitive or another verb+-ing but the choice
leads to a change in the meaning

Verbs which may take either infinitive or gerund:


advise agree allow begin cease continue
forget hate intend like love mean
need permit prefer propose prefer recommend
start stop try used to want regret
remember

begin, start, continue ,cease:


Either infinitive or gerund may be used without any difference in meaning, but the
infinitive is more usual with verbs of knowing and understanding
I began working/ I began to work
He continued living /to live above the shop
I am beginning to understand /see / realize why she acted as she did

advise, allow, permit, recommend:


If the person is mentioned we use the infinitive:
He advised me to apply at once
They don’t allow us to park here
She recommends housewives to buy the big tins
but if the person is not mentioned, the gerund is used:
He advised applying at once
They don’t allow parking
She recommends buying the big tins

remember, forget, regret


It is used with the gerund when the action expressed by the gerund is the earlier action
(refer to past events).
This is when you remember something that has happened in the past
I remember reading about the earthquake in the papers (reading is the first
action, remember is the second)
It's when you forget (or not) about, something that you've done in the past.
I’ll never forget waiting for bombs to fall = I’ll always remember waiting for
the bombs to fall.
This is when you are sorry about something you did in the past and you wish you
hadn't done it.
I regret spending so much money= (I’m sorry I spent so much money
(spending is the first action, regret is the second))

When remember, forget, regret themselves express the earlier action they are followed
by an infinitive.
This is when you think of something that you need to do.(and usually, you then do
the thing)
I’ll remember to ring John (remember is the earlier action)

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It's when you want to do something, but you forget about it
I often forget to sign my cheques (fail to remember)
We use this construction when we are giving someone bad news, in quite a formal
way.
I regret to say that you have failed your exam (regret is the first action, to say
is the second)

stop:
followed by the gerund is = cease, refers to the ending of an activity. When we stop
doing something it means the verb in the gerund is the thing that we stop
Stop talking
I can’t stop him talking to the press
followed by an infinitive of purpose: = halt, refers to an intention,). We stop something
else in order to do the verb in the infinitive
I stopped to ask the way ( I stopped in order to ask the way)
He stopped to buy the newspaper on the way back home

like:
followed by the gerund = enjoy ( usually used in the present or past tenses) prefer can be
used in the same way
He doesn’t like dancing
He prefers walking to cycling

followed by the infinitive =think wise or right


She likes them to play in the garden (she thinks they are safe there)
I like to go to the dentist twice a year (I think this wise)

try:
followed by gerund = experiment and see what happens. This is when you do something
as an experiment. The thing you do is not difficult, but you want to see if doing it will have the
result that you want.
Why don’t you try giving the staff greater autonomy?
I wanted to stop smoking, so I tried using nicotine patches
followed by infinitive =attempt, make an effort. This is when the thing you do itself is
difficult. In the present tense or future tense, this means you might not succeed in doing it. In
the past tense, it means that you made an effort to do the thing, but you did not succeed
He tried to learn car maintenance but gave up
I'll try to carry the suitcase, but it looks too heavy for me.
She tried to catch the bus, but she couldn't run fast enough

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