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Words used with the Infinitive

Words used either with the Infinitive or Gerund

Infinitive or Present Participle

Gerund and present participle are not exactly the same. As this chapter is about when to use the infinitive and when to use the ing-form, however, we have also listed words here that can be used either with the infinitive or the present participle. (for more information on the present participle see participles)

WordsInfinitive meaningGerund meaning


Emphasises that the action is completed.

Example: I saw him go up the stairs. I saw the whole action, which is completed now.(i)

Action can be completed, but not necessarily.

Example: I saw him going up the stairs. I saw him when he was going up the stairs. It is irrelevant whether I saw the whole action or just saw him for a short moment then.(i)


expresses a purpose

Example: She is coming to show us the pictures.

in connection with activities

Example: Let’s go shopping / dancing.