Present Simple
Present Continuous
Past Simple
Past Continuous
Present Perfect tenses
Past Perfect tenses
Present Continuous
Going to
Future Simple
Future Continuous
Future Perfect
Other future forms
The Gerund is used:

  1. as a noun (subject/object): "I like swimming" "Swimming is a healthy sport"
  2. after prepositions: "After leaving the house,..."
  3. after certain verbs: "Stop doing that!"
  4. in compound nouns (adjective): "I bought a windsurfing board"
  5. after a possessive adjective (or Saxon genitive): "I didn't mind his / John's coming"

(In conversational English: "He didn't mind me coming late" "I don't mind John coming")


Verbs usually followed by a gerund


admit detest forgive mind (=object) resist
anticipate dislike hate pardon risk
appreciate dread imagine postpone save (oneself the trouble of)
avoid enjoy involve prevent start
consider escape keep (=continue) propose (=suggest) stop
defer excuse like recollect suggest
delay fancy (=imagine) loathe remember (=recollect) understand
deny finish love resent  
A. The Infinitive with TO is used:
  1. after certain verbs: "I want to buy a car"
  2. to express purpose: "I sat down to read"
  3. after nouns and adjectives: "She's nice to talk to" "I've got some homework to do"
  4. after that/it/there + to be + adjective + noun: "That was a silly thing to do"
  5. after it + to be + adjective: "It was nice of you to come" (usually followed by of you, of her ...)
Verbs followed by the infinitive
afford begin determine hope plan prove
agree bother endeavour intend prefer seem
aim care expect learn prepare start
appear choose fail like pretend swear
arranged claim forget long (for) proceed tend
ask condescend guarantee love promise threaten
attempt consent happen manage refuse trouble
bear dare hate mean regret try (=attempt)
be decide help neglect remember undertake
beg demand hesitate offer resolve volunteer
Verbs followed by object + infinitive
advise command get like prefer tell (how)
allow compel help mean press tempt
ask encourage implore need recommend trouble
bear entitle induce oblige remind urge
beg expect instruct order request want
bribe forbid invite permit show (how) warn
cause force leave persuade teach (how)  
Verbs followed by the infinitive or by object + infinitive
ask help mean wish would have
beg intend prefer would hate  
expect like (=think wise) want would like (=enjoy)  
A. The Infinitive without TO is used:
  1. after most auxiliary verbs: "She can swim very well"
  2. after certain verbs: "She made them come back
Verbs followed by the infinitive without TO
can dare might need shoud would
could may must shall will  
had better would rather        
feel help make see In the passive they are followed by TO + infinitive
hear let notice watch
Some verbs can be followed by either an -ing form or an infinitive, usually with a difference of meaning. The most important cases are:
advise begin go on like propose start
allow continue hate love regret stop
attempt forbid hear permit remember try
can't bear forget intend prefer see watch
This is also the case with certain adjectives:
accustomed afraid certain interested sorry sure used

1. With remember, forget, stop, go on and regret, the difference is connected with time. The -ing form refers to things that happen before the action takes place; the infinitive refers to things that happen after the action takes place.

  remember + -ing = remember what one has done or what has happened
  + infinitive = remember what one has to do
  forget + -ing = forget what one has done, or what has happened
  + infinitive = forget what one has to do
  stop + -ing = stop what one is doing
  + infinitive = make a pause in order to do something
  go on + -ing = continue what one has been doing
  + infinitive = change; move on to something new
  regret + -ing = be sorry for what has happened
  + infinitive = be sorry for what one is going to say


2. Like + -ing = enjoy
  + infinitive = choose to; be in the habit of; think it right to
3. With love, hate and prefer, there is not much difference between the two structures. When we are referring to one particular occasion, it is more common to use the infinitive.
4. Allow, advise, forbid and permit are followed by an -ing form when there is no personal object. If we say who is allowed, advised, etc, the infinitive is used: "Sorry, we don't allow smoking here" "Sorry, we don't allow people to smoke here"
5. After see, watch and hear, an -ing form suggests that we observe part of a complete action; when we start looking or listening it is already going on. The infinitive is used when we want to suggest that we observe the whole action from beginning to end.
6. Try + -ing = make an experiment; do something to see what will happen
  + infinitive = make an effort; attempt to do something difficult
7. Begin and start can be followed by -ing or infinitive structures, usually with no real difference in meaning. It is perhaps more common to use an -ing form when we are talking about the beginning of a long or habitual action.
8. After propose, attempt, intend, continue and can't bear, both structures are possible with little difference of meaning, but the infinitive is probably more common after propose, attempt and intend.
9. With the adjective interested, the -ing form refers to what will or may happen, and the infinitive refers to what has happened:
Be interested in + -ing = interested by the idea of doing something
Be interested + infinitive = interested by what one learns
10. Afraid of + -ing and afraid + infinitive can be both used with little difference in meaning. However, when we are talking about things which happen to us unexpectedly, only the -ing form is possible: "I'm afraid of crashing" (NOT * ... to crash)
11. Sorry for + -ing = apologize for something we have done
+ infinitive = apologize for something we are doing
12. Be certain / sure + -ing = we're not sure, we think so but may be wrong
  + infinitive = we're sure
13. Be used to + -ing = be accustomed to doing something
Used to
+ infinitive = things we did habitually in the past but not now
14. With accustomed to + -ing and accustomed to + infinitive there's no real difference in meaning.
Adapted from A Practical English Grammar by Thomson & Martinet, OUP 1980
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© Olga Godoy Giménez, 2002 - 2007