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Infinitive and Gerund

There are certain words in English that are usually followed by an infinitive or gerund. If you are not sure whether to use the infinitive or gerund, check out our lists or look the words up in a dictionary.

Infinitive

Use

Certain words are followed by an infinite verb with or without ‘to’.

Use and Word Lists Example
as the subject of a clause To know you is to love you.
after certain expressions (without ‘to’) Why not go to the cinema?
after certain verbs (without ‘to’) I can swim.
after certain verbs (with ‘to’) He wants to swim.
after certain verbs with interrogatives (infinitive constructions) They don’t know how to swim.
after certain verbs with objects (without ‘to’) He made her swim.
after certain verbs with objects (with ‘to’) They wanted him to swim.
after certain adjectives and their comparisons It’s easier to swim downstream.
after nouns deriving from the verbs mentioned above We made a promise to swim. (derived from the verb ‘to promise’)

Gerund

Form

ing form of the verb

Exceptions in Spelling

See → Present Progressive – Exceptions

Use

Certain words are followed by an Ing-Form.

Use and Word Lists Example
as the subject of a clause Cycling is good for your health.
after certain adjectives He’s afraid of going by plane.
after certain prepositions Before going to bed he turned off the lights.
after certain verbs I enjoy cooking.
after certain verbs with prepositions I am looking forward to seeing you again.
after certain nouns We had problems finding our way back home.

Words followed either by Infinitive or Ing-Form

Use and Word Lists Example
same meaning I started to read. / I started reading.
same meaning but different use She forbids us to talk. / She forbids talking.
different meaning He stopped to smoke. / He stopped smoking.
infinitive or present participle I saw him go up the stairs. / I saw him going up the stairs.

Exercises and Tests

Infinitive

Gerund

Infinitive / Gerund

Tests on Infinitive and Gerund

Changed: 24th Oct 2014 21:21

URL: http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/infinitive-gerund