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Here is a brief review of the differences between gerunds and infinitives.
Gerunds are formed with ING:
walking, talking, thinking, listening
Infinitives are formed with TO:
to walk, to talk, to think, to listen
Gerunds and infinitives can do several jobs:
Both gerunds and infinitives can be the subject of a
sentence::
Writing in English is difficult.
To write in English is difficult.
Both gerunds and infinitives can be the object of a verb::
I like writing in English.
I like to write in English.
But...
Only gerunds can be the object of a preposition::
We are talking about writing in English.
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 | practise
quit |
recall | recommend | regret | report | resent | resume | risk |
suggest |
tolerate |
understand
For example:
I adore reading your books.
They anticipated winning the election.
I detest going to discos.
We postponed making any decision in the meeting.
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 | endeavour | 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
For example:
I can't afford to go to the pub.
He agreed to practise more.
You should learn to express yourself.
They managed to fix the problem.
Gerund and Infinitive (no difference in meaning)
We use the Gerund or the Infinitive after the following verbs:
begin
He began talking.
He began to talk.
continue
They continue smoking.
They continue to smoke.
hate
Do you hate working on Saturdays?
Do you hate to work on Saturdays?
like
I like swimming.
I like to swim.
love
She loves painting.
She loves to paint.
prefer
Pat prefers walking home.
Pat prefers to walk home.
start
They start singing.
They start to sing.
We use the Gerund or the Infinitive after the following verbs. There are two possible
structures after these verbs.
Gerund: verb + -ing
Infinitive: verb + person + to-infinitive
advise
They advise walking to town.
They advise us to walk to town.
allow
They do not allow smoking here.
They do not allow us to smoke here.
encourage
They encourage doing the test.
They encourage us to do the test.
permit
They do not permit smoking here.
They do not permit us to smoke here.
We use the following structures with the word recommend:
recommend
They recommend walking to town.
They recommend that we walk to town.
Some verbs have different meaning. (when used with Gerund or Infinitive)
forget
go on
mean
remember
stop
try
GERUND
INFINITIVE
He'll never forget spending so much
money on his first computer.
Don't forget to spend money on the
tickets.
GERUND
INFINITIVE
Go on reading the text.
Go on to read the text.
GERUND
INFINITIVE
You have forgotten your homework
again. That means phoning your
mother.
I meant to phone your mother, but
my mobile didn't work.
GERUND
INFINITIVE
I remember switching off the lights
when I went on holiday.
Remember to switch off the lights
when you go on holiday.
GERUND
INFINITIVE
Stop reading the text.
Stop to read the text.
GERUND
INFINITIVE
Why don't you try running after the
dog?
I tried to run after the dog, but I
was too slow.
GERUNDS / INFINITIVES EXERCISES:
Put in the verbs in brackets in the Gerund or the to-infinitive.
1) I can't imagine Peter (go) by bike.
2) He agreed (buy) a new car.
3) The question is easy (answer).
4) The man asked me how (get) to the airport.
5) I look forward to (see) you at the weekend.
6) Are you thinking of (visit) London?
7) We decided (run) through the forest.
8) The teacher expected Sarah (study) hard.
9) She doesn't mind (work) the night shift.
10) I learned (ride) the bike at the age of 5.
Answers:
1) I can't imagine Peter going by bike.
2) He agreed to buy a new car.
3) The question is easy to answer.
4) The man asked me how to get to the airport.
5) I look forward to seeing you at the weekend.
6) Are you thinking of visiting London?
7) We decided to run through the forest.
8) The teacher expected Sarah to study hard.
9) She doesn't mind working the night shift.
10) I learned to ride the bike at the age of 5.
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