Gerunds vs Infinitives: How to Use Them Correctly in English

What is gerund and infinitive with examples?

Gerund and Infinitive: peculiarities of use in the English language

Learning English can be a real challenge, especially when it comes to grammatical constructions such as the gerund and the infinitive. These two forms of verbs are commonly used in the English language, so it is important to know how and when to use each to ensure effective communication. In this article, we will look at the specifics of the use of the gerund and the infinitive, as well as give clear examples and important grammatical constructions.

What is Gerund and Infinitive?

The gerund is a verb form that ends in -ing in English (eg reading, singing). It is used to denote an action or process.

The infinitive is the base form of the verb that comes after “to” (for example, to read, to sing). It is used to indicate a goal, future action, or intention.

Peculiarities of Gerund use

Features of the use of the gerund are as follows:

  1. The gerund can be used as the subject of the sentence: “Swimming is good exercise.”
  2. The gerund is often used after the verb to be to denote a continuous action or process: “She is studying English now”
  3. The gerund can be used after verbs expressing perception or opinion, such as: “like”, “dislike”, “enjoy”, “hate”, “prefer”, “imagine”, “remember”, “forget”, “consider” , “mind”, “appreciate” and others.
  4. The gerund can be used after verbs expressing actions, such as: “finish”, “stop”, “avoid”, “postpone”, “admit”, “deny”, “suggest”, “recommend”, “delay” and others .
  5. The gerund can be used in a complex application after verbs that require another verb in the gerund form, for example: “I enjoy swimming.”
  6. The gerund can be used in complex noun phrases, for example: “The idea of going to college excites me.”
  7. The gerund can be used in complex adjectival phrases, for example: “He’s a hard-working student.”

Peculiarities of using the Infinitive

The main features of the use of the infinitive in English are as follows:

  1. The infinitive can be used after verbs, adjectives and other parts of speech expressing desire, intention, possibility, etc. For example: to want, to need, to be able, to have to.
  2. The infinitive with the preposition to (to + infinitive) is used after many verbs and expressions, for example: to agree, to decide, to forget, to hope, to learn, to promise, to refuse, to try, to want.
  3. The infinitive can be used as the subject or predicate in a sentence. For example: To learn a foreign language is important. It is important to learn a foreign language.
  4. The infinitive can also be used in a composite application (immediately after the application verb), which expresses the purpose of the action. For example: He wants me to help him.
  5. The infinitive with the particle not (not + infinitive) is used to express negation. For example: I decided not to go to the party.
  6. Some verbs, for example, like, love, hate, prefer, can, could, would, should, may, might, must, allow the use of both the infinitive with and without the preposition to. For example: I like to swim. I like swimming.
  7. The infinitive can be used after verbs of perception, such as see, hear, feel, and the infinitive after modal verbs, such as can, must, should, may, would. For example: She can speak English fluently

Special constructions of the use of the Infinitive and Gerund

Construction to forget / remember / regret + gerund means that the action happened in the past:

  • She forgot greeting me
  • I remember giving him a present
  • I regret doing that

Construction to forget / remember / regret + infinitive means simultaneous or subsequent action:

  • Не never remembers to lock the door
  • Don’t forget to call me
  • We regret to tell you that we offered job to someone else

Construction to stop + gerund means “to stop doing something”:

  • When he entered the room I stopped laughing

Construction to stop + infinitive means “to cease operations for any purpose”:

  • I stopped to greet him

Construction to try + gerund means the action for the experiment:

  • Try parachuting. It is magnificent!

Construction to try + infinitive  means effort spent on actions:

  • I am trying to learn English myself
  • I am trying to sleep

More examples

To master the use of the gerund and the infinitive in English, you need to focus on learning the appropriate grammatical constructions and more examples.

The infinitive is used after some words that indicate the need or desire to do something. Example:

  • I want to learn English
  • She needs to have a coffee
  • They would like to visit London

The infinitive is used after verbs of permission or prohibition. Example:

  • My boss allowed me to leave early
  • You’re not supposed to smoke in here
  • Please remember to turn off the lights

The infinitive is used after verbs that express intention or purpose. Example:

  • I plan to go on vacation next month
  • She hopes to get a new job soon
  • They decided to have pizza for dinner

The gerund is used after verbs that indicate the visibility of an action. Example:

  • I enjoy swimming in the ocean
  • She hates watching horror movies
  • They love playing video games

The gerund is used after some prepositions that indicate a certain process or action. Example:

  • I’m thinking about changing my job
  • Have you ever tried painting?
  • They’re interested in learning Chinese

The gerund is used after verbs that express emotions or states. Example:

  • I’m sorry for interrupting you
  • She’s afraid of flying
  • They’re excited about going to the party

The gerund is used after adjectives. Example:

  • It’s easy to learn English
  • She’s busy cooking dinner
  • I’m happy to help you

The infinitive is used after the expression “it’s time”. Example:

  • It’s time to go to bed
  • It’s time to study for the exam
  • It’s time to start working

The gerund is used in complex addition. Example:

  • I enjoy reading books
  • She hates doing the dishes
  • They love watching movies

In conclusion, the gerund and the infinitive are important verb forms that are used very often in English. Although it may take a long time to fully master these forms, you have already familiarized yourself with the basic rules. You can use this article as a guide in learning English and expand your vocabulary and grammar using the examples mentioned in the article.

Video – GERUND (-ing) or INFINITIVE (to) – When & How to Use them! (+ Free PDF & Quiz)

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