Gerund & Infinitive

Gerund & Infinitive

Gerunds (the –ing forms of the verbs) can be used as the subject of he sentence Example: Reading books in the original helps students (to) extend their vocabulary.   Infinitives can be used as the subject of the sentence Example: To read books in the original you need to know the language very well.
Gerunds can be used as the object of the sentence Example: I love walking in the rain alone.   Infinitives can be used as the object of the sentence Example: He promised to raise a huge amount of money for charity.
Gerunds are used after prepositions Example: Nowadays women are interested in making career.  
  • Certain verbs are followed by the gerund. These include: admit, avoid, consider, delay, can’t stand, deny, enjoy, hate, imagine, like, dislike, feel like, recall, risk, suggest, detest, dread, fancy, finish, postpone, practise, recommend

Example: He denied taking the money.

               I suggest going sightseeing after lunch.

               I can’t stand waiting for someone in the street.

               She avoided answering the question.

  • Certain verbs are followed by the infinitive with ‘to’. These include: afford, agree, appear, arrange, ask, attempt, choose, claim, dare, decide, demand, deserve, expect, hesitate, hope, intend, learn, manage, need, offer, plan, prepare, pretend, promise, refuse, say, seem, tend, threaten, want, wish

Example: I hesitate to answer this question.

               Do you promise to come in time?

               We are planning to spend the night in the hotel.

               We’ve decided to travel this year.

               Eventually they managed to open the gate.

  • Sometimes infinitives are used without particle to. For example, after modal verbs such as can, may, must, should, might, could (except ought).

Example: Nobody can do this better than James.

               They must wear uniform.

                Everyone should listen to the instructions.

Note:     You ought to offer a seat on the public transport.

  • The verb help is followed by the infinitive with or without particle  to without any change in meaning

Example: Reading books in the original will help you (to) extend your vocabulary.

               Their interference in time helped (to) improve the situation.

  • Certain verbs are followed by gerund or infinitive without little or no change in meaning: These include: begin, cease, start, continue

Example: Despite bad weather they continued to play/playing football.

               The whole family began to watch/watching the film together.

  • Certain verbs can be followed by both forms, but there will be a change in meaning. These include: remember, forget, stop, try, regret

Example: 1. I remember to send an email to their manager. (I remember that I will do this)

               I remember sending an email to their manager. (I remember that I have already done this)

               2. He forgot to water the flowers. (He forgot that he would water the flowers)

               He forgot watering the flowers. (He forgot that he had watered the flowers)

               3. He stopped talking when the teacher looked at him. (He was talking, but when the teacher looked at him he didn’t continue)

                  He stopped to talk to his old schoolmate when he bumped into him in the street. (He was walking in the street, but when he saw his schoolmate he stood because he wanted to talk to him)

              4. I regret to inform you that you failed the exam. (I regret because I am about to tell you something about which I am not happy)

                 I regret telling him the truth. (I regret that I told him the truth)

              5. He tried to swallow the pill for his swollen tonsils. (It was difficult for him to swallow, but he made an effort to do it)

                 He tried swallowing the pill for his swollen tonsils. (He had taken different medicine but none helped, and he wanted to see if this one would help)

  • Many adjectives are followed by infinitive with ‘to’ The most common structures are the following:

Example: It is easy to go there on bus.

               She was the first to suggest this idea.

                He was the last to come.

               It was impolite of him to act like this.

               It is difficult for me to believe such a thing.

               She is too young to get married.

               He is not old enough to behave like that.

  • The following nouns are followed by infinitive with ‘to’. Chance, decision, effort, opportunity, time

Example: They made an effort to persuade us to go to the party.

                It might be your last chance to win the lottery.

                We made a decision to donate some amount of money.

                In this job we are given an opportunity to travel.

                I don’t have time to solve the problems.

               They consider it wrong to complain about his bad behaviour.

  • After words like no one, nothing, nowhere, somebody/someone, something, somewhere, anybody/anyone, anything, anywhere, what, where, how, which we use infinitive with ‘to’

Example: I have got something to tell you.

               She didn’t know what to say after his words.

               Do you know how to go to the restaurant where they are having a party.

               We have got nowhere to apply.

               I don’t know anybody to ask for help.

               Is there anything to eat in the kitchen?

  • After had better and would rather we use infinitive without ‘to’

Example: You had better go home now.

                I would rather eat an apple than drink Coca Cola.

  • After let and make we use infinitive without ‘to’

Example: She didn’t let me leave the party.

                The manager made us laugh by telling us a funny story.

Note: If the sentences are in Passive Voice, then infinitive with ‘to’ is used.

                I wasn’t let to leave the party.

               We were made to laugh by our manager.

  • After the verb need both infinitive and gerund can be used but there will be difference in meaning.

Example: I need to change the tyre of the car.

               The tyre needs changing. (In this sentence the use of gerund gives a passive meaning or The tyre needs to be changed.)

  • There are some noun phrases which take a gerund, for example – have difficulty, have trouble

Example: I sometimes have difficulty understanding her.

               They are having trouble repairing the old machines.

  • There are also a number of useful patterns with It + gerund

Example: It is worth translating this book into our language.

                It is no use telling him the truth – he won’t believe.

               There is no point getting upset about her words.

                It is no good getting annoyed.

More complex Infinitive and Gerund Forms

Infinitive
Forms Active Passive
Simple: to write to be written
Continuous: to be writing
Perfect: to have written to have been written
Perfect Continuous: to have been writing

How to use these forms with verbs like to seem, to pretend, to appear, to say, would like

Examples:

  1. to seem

with Active Infinitive

  1. It seems that James works for a big company. – James seems to work for a big company. (Simple tense form is replaced with simple form of the infinitive)
  2. It seems that James is working this weekend. – James seems to be working this weekend. (Continuous tense form is replaced with continuous form of the infinitive)
  3. It seems that James has worked for BP all his life. – James seems to have worked for BP all his life. (Perfect tense form is replaced with perfect form of the infinitive)
  4. It seems that James has been working for BP for a few years. – James seems to have been working for BP for a few years. (Perfect Continuous tense form is replaced with perfect continuous form of the infinitive)

      with Passive Infinitive

  1. It seems that they inform James of the latest news regularly. – James seems to be informed of the latest news regularly.
  2. It seems that they have seen James in the bank that day. – James seems to have been seen in the bank that day.
  • would like

I would like to see Madonna on stage. (It is still possible to see her on stage as she is alive) – I would like to have seen Muslim Magomayev on stage. (It is impossible to see him on stage as he is dead)

I would like to be lying on the beach now.

  • to say (the explanation is the same as in the examples with ‘to seem’)
  1. It is said that he studies abroad. – He is said to study abroad.
  2. It is said that he is studying genetic engineering. – He is said to be studying genetic engineering.
  3. It is said that he has studied several languages. – He is said to have studied several languages.
  4. It is said that he has been studying abroad for a couple of years. – He is said to have been studying abroad for a couple of years.
  • to pretend

He pretended to disagree.

He pretended to be laughing.

He pretended to have read the book.

He pretended to have been working since morning.

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