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Grammar Goblins

Using Gerunds & Infinitives

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GERUNDS

INFINITIVES

Gerunds or Infinitives - NO Change In Meaning

Gerunds or Infinitives - BIG Change In Meaning


Part 1. Using GERUNDS

1.1. A gerund is an -ing form of a verb that is used as a noun rather than as a verb. Because it is used as a noun, it can appear in any sentence position that any noun can occupy.

Examples:

GERUND = swimming

SENTENCE POSITION

Swimming is good exercise.

SUBJECT of the sentence

She likes swimming every day.

DIRECT OBJECT of the VERB like

She is crazy about swimming in the ocean.

OBJECT of the PREPOSITION about

1.2. Many common verbs are followed by gerunds. These verbs may be one-word verbs or two-word verbs.

Examples:

GERUND = swimming

VERB TYPE

She investigated swimming with the team.

One-word investigated

She looked into swimming with the team.

Two-word looked into

List of Common Verbs Followed By Gerunds

admit

enjoy

regret

advise

finish

remember

anticipate

forget

resent

appreciate

keep

resist

avoid

mention

risk

complete

mind

stop

consider

miss

suggest

delay

postpone

tolerate

deny

practice

understand

discuss

quit

dislike

recommend

1.3. Many common adjectives (and prepositions) are followed by gerunds. Make note of the preposition that follows each adjective.

Examples:

GERUND = joining

PREPOSITION

She is interested in joining the team.

in

She is excited about joining with the team.

about

List of Common Adjectives Followed By Gerunds

accustomed to

done with

limited to

afraid of

envious of

patient with

angry at

excited about

prepared for

annoyed with

exposed to

proud of

aware of

familiar with

related to

bored with

filled with

relevant to

capable of

finished with

remembered for

committed to

fond of

responsible for

concerned about

grateful for

satisfied with

connected to

guilty of

scared of

content with

innocent of

terrified of

convinced of

interested in

tired of

crowded with

involved in

upset with

dedicated to

jealous of

used to

disappointed in

known for

worried about

1.4. In the negative form, the word not comes before the gerund.

Examples:

GERUND = cycling

VERB TYPE

She considered cycling up the mountain.

affirmative

She considered not cycling up the mountain.

negative

 

Part 2. Using INFINITIVES

2.1. An infinitive is the word to and the SIMPLE/BASE/DICTIONARY form of a verb.

Examples:

INFINITIVE = to swim

It is good to swim every day.

She likes to swim in the morning.

2.2. Many common verbs are followed by infinitives.

List of Common Verbs Followed By Infinitives

agree

fail

prepare

appear

forget

pretend

ask

hesitate

promise

beg

hope

refuse

care

learn

regret

claim

manage

remember

consent

mean

seem

decide

need

threaten

demand

offer

wait

deserve

plan

wish

expect

prepare

want

2.3. Many verbs that are followed by an infinitive may take a noun or pronoun between them.

Examples:

INFINITIVE = to join

NOUN OR PRONOUN

She convinced him to join the team.

PRONOUN him

She convinced Bob to join the team.

NOUN Bob

List of Common Verbs Followed By Noun/Pronoun and Infinitive

advise

expect

permit

allow

forbid

persuade

ask

force

remind

beg

hire

require

cause

instruct

teach

challenge

invite

tell

convince

need

urge

dare

order

want

encourage

warn

2.4. In the negative form, the word not comes before the infinitive.

Examples:

INFINITIVE = to cycle

VERB TYPE

She promised to cycle up the mountain.

affirmative

She promised not to cycle up the mountain.

negative

She promised us not to cycle up the mountain.

pronoun + negative

Part 3. Using GERUNDS or INFINITIVES - no change in meaning

3.1.Some verbs can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive, with little or no change in meaning.

List of Common Verbs Followed By Gerunds or Infinitives - Same Meaning

afford

(can't) bear

begin

cease

commence

continue

dread

hate

like

loathe

love

neglect

prefer

propose

(can't) stand

start

Part 4. Using GERUNDS or INFINITIVES - big change in meaning

4.1.Some verbs can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive, with A BIG change in meaning.

Examples:

VERB FOLLOWED BY:

SENTENCE

MEANING

INFINITIVE

I forgot to eat lunch.

I DID NOT eat lunch today.

GERUND

I forgot eating lunch.

I DID eat lunch today. I just did not remember at the time you asked me.

List of Common Verbs Followed By Gerunds or Infinitives - Different Meaning

attempt

forget

mean

regret

remember

try

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Copyright © 1996 Dr. Sheryl Beller-Kenner revised: 01/23/2001