What is the gerund versus the infinitive:
The GERUND versus the infinitive can be a challenging aspect of English grammar, for more practice, see our post on grammar structures HERE
A gerund verb refers to a verb that ends in …ing (going, writing, swimming) whereas an infinitive verb is to + verb (to go, to write, to swim)
However, you also need to understand the bare infinitive (go, write, swim)
To understand the gerund and infinitive, you need to remember 3 rules:
- Subject of the sentence eg. Swimming is good for your health.
- After a preposition eg. I am keen on running to get fit.
- After certain/some verbs eg. I fancy having a beer with my meal.
At C1 level there is one exception. When we use be just about + infinitive. I was just about to say that before you interrupted me.
- Purpose of another action eg. I do the shopping once a week to buy food.
- After an adjective eg. It is easy to pass the exam with this course.
- After certain/some verbs eg. He managed to get a 10 on the exam.
BE CAREFUL! At C1 level, there are exceptions to the rules. Study the examples:
In one case we use adjective + gerund. When we use be worth + gerund.
It isn’t worth having lots of money if you have no one to share it with.
For instance, the infinitive can be used as the subject of a sentence.
In Britain to arrive late to a meeting is very bad manners.
- After most modal verbs eg. I should do more exercise.
- Objectives/to do list eg. 1. Do the washing up 2. Go shopping 3. Wash the car
Similar expressions with the full and the bare infinitive
Verb + Object + Verb
I allow my children to watch TV every day.
I permit them to watch TV each day.
I let them watch TV daily.
Verb + Object + Verb
I obligate my children to tidy their room
I force them to tidy their room
I make them tidy their room
Gerund versus Infinitive verb list:
|GERUND (use the gerund after these verbs)|
|Admit, Advise, Appreciate, Avoid, Can’t help, Can’t stand, Complete, Consider, Delay, Deny, Detest, Discuss, Despise, Enjoy, Escape, Excuse, Fancy, Feel like, Finish, Forbid, Imagine, Involve, Keep, Mention, Mind, Miss, Permit, Postpone, Practice, Quit, Recall, Recommend, Report, Resist, Resume, Risk, Spend (time), Suggest, Tolerate, Understand, Use, Waste (time)|
|INFINITIVE (use the infinitive after these words)|
|Able, Afford, Agree, Aim, Allow, Appear, Arrange, Ask, Attempt, Beg, Claim, Choose, Consent, Dare, Decide, Demand, Deserve, Encourage, Expect, Fail, Get, Happen, Help, Hesitate, Hope, Hurry, Learn, Long, Manage, Need, Offer, Plan, Pleased, Prepare, Pretend, Promise, Propose, Refuse, Seem, Strive, Swear, Take (time), Tend, Threaten, Use, Wait, Want, Wish, Would like|
|NO CHANGE IN MEANING: EITHER (use either the gerund or infinitive)|
|Begin, Continue, Dislike, Like, love, Start, Intend, prefer|
|CHANGE IN MEANING: EITHER (use either the gerund or the infinitive)|
|Consider, Forget, Imagine, Mean, Remember, Remind, Regret, Try, Stop, Teach, Try|
Change in meaning between gerund and infinitive:
Like (no change) I like swimming I like to swim
Remember (change) I didn’t remember doing it I didn’t remember to do it
Try (change) I tried calling you. I tried to call you, but I couldn’t.
Gerund form normally means that the action was completed, the infinitive not completed.
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Practice exercises in PDF