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Gerund or Infinitive - Gerund And Present Participles | English Grammar - English Free Test|Englishfreetest.com

Gerund or Infinitive - Gerund And Present Participles | English Grammar - English Free Test

The two groups of verbs below can be followed either by the gerund or by the infinitive. Usually this has no effect on the meaning, but with some verbs there is a clear difference in meaning. Verbs marked * can also be followed by a that-clause.

  • I prefer to live in an apartment.
  • I prefer living in an apartment.

Verbs where there is little or no difference in meaning:





1. Allow is used in these two patterns:
a. Allow + object + to-infinitive:

  • Her parents allowed her to go to the party.

b. Allow + gerund:

  • Her parents don't allow smoking in the house.

2. Deserve + gerund is not very common, but is mainly used with passive constructions or where there is a passive meaning:

  • Your proposals deserve being considered in detail.
  • These ideas deserve discussing. (= to be discussed).
3. The verbs hate, love, like, prefer are usually followed by a gerund when the meaning is general, and by a to-infinitive when they refer to a particular time or situation. You must always use the to-infinitive with the expressions 'would love to', 'would hate to', etc.


  • I hate to tell you, but Uncle Jim is coming this weekend.
  • I hate looking after elderly relatives!
  • I love dancing .
  • I would love to dance with you.

Verbs where there is a clear difference in meaning :
Verbs marked with an asterisk * can also be followed by a that-clause .

forget *
go on

mean *
regret *
remember *



Come + gerund is like other verbs of movement followed by the gerund, and means that the subject is doing something as they move:

  • She came running across the field.

Come + to-infinitive means that something happens or develops, perhaps outside the subject's control:

  • At first I thought he was crazy, but I've come to appreciate his sense of humour.
  • How did you come to be outside the skipped house?
  • This word has come to mean something quite different.
Forget, regret and remember:

When these verbs are followed by a gerund , the gerund refers to an action that happened earlier:

  • I remember locking the door ( = I remember now, I locked the door earlier)
  • He regretted speaking so rudely. (= he regretted at some time in the past, he had spoken rudely at some earlier time in the past.)

Forget is frequently used with 'never' in the simple future form:

  • I'll never forget meeting my boss for the first time.

When these verbs are followed by a to-infinitive , the infinitive refers to an action happening at the same time, or later:

  • I remembered to lock the door (= I thought about it, then I did it.)
  • Don't forget to buy some eggs! (= Please think about it and then do it.)
  • We regret to announce the late arrival of the 12.45 from Paddington. (= We feel sorry before we tell you this bad news.)
Go on:

Go on + gerund means to continue with an action:

  • He went on speaking for two hours.
  • I can't go on working like this - I'm exhausted.

Go on + to-infinitive means to do the next action, which is often the next stage in a process:

  • After introducing her proposal, she went on to explain the benefits for the company.
  • John Smith worked in local government for five years, then went on to become a Member of Parliament.

Mean + gerund expresses what the result of an action will be, or what will be necessary:

  • If you take that job in London it will mean travelling for two hours every day.
  • We could take the ferry to France, but that will mean spending a night in a hotel.

Mean + to-infinitive expresses an intention or a plan:

  • Did you mean to dial this number?
  • I mean to finish this job by the end of the week!
  • Sorry - I didn't mean to hurt you.

Stop + gerund means to finish an action in progress:

  • I stopped working for them because the wages were so low.
    Stop tickling me!

Stop + to-infinitive means to interrupt an activity in order to do something else, so the infinitive is used to express a purpose:

  • I stopped to have lunch. (= I was working, or travelling, and I interrupted what I was doing in order to eat.)
  • It's difficult to concentrate on what you are doing if you have to stop to answerOption the phone every five minutes.

Try + gerund means to experiment with an action that might be a solution to your problem.

  • If you have problems sleeping, you could try doing some yoga before you go to bed, or you could try drinking some warm milk.
  • 'I can't get in touch with Carl.' 'Have you tried e-mailing him?'

Try + to-infinitive means to make an effort to do something. It may be something very difficult or even impossible:

  • The surgeons tried to save his life but he died on the operating table.
  • We'll try to phone at 6 o'clock, but it might be hard to find a public telephone.
  • People have to try to live together in harmony.