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Gerunds and Infinitives. A gerund is a noun made from a verb by adding "-ing." You can use a gerund as the subject, the complement, or the object of a sentence. Ex/ Reading helps you learn English. subject of sentence Her favorite hobby is reading . complement of sentence

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A gerund is a noun made from a verb by adding "-ing." You can use a gerund as the subject, the complement, or the object of a sentence.

Ex/ Reading helps you learn English. subject of sentence

Her favorite hobby is reading. complement of sentence

I enjoy reading. object of sentence

  • Gerunds can be made negative by adding "not."

Ex/ He enjoys not working.

The best thing for your health is not smoking.

  • Infinitives are the "to" form of the verb. You can also use an infinitive as the subject, the complement, or the object of a sentence.

Ex/ To learn is important. subject of sentence

The most important thing is to learn. complement of sentence

He wants to learn. object of sentence

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Infinitives can be made negative by adding "not."

Ex/ I decided not to go.

The most important thing is not to give up.

  • Both gerunds and infinitives can be used as the subject or the complement of a sentence. However, as subjects or complements, gerunds usually sound more like normal, spoken English, whereas infinitives sound more abstract.

Ex/ Learning is important. normal subject

To learn is important. abstract subject - less common

The most important thing is learning. normal complement

The most important thing is to learn. abstract complement - less common

  • As the object of a sentence, it is more difficult to choose between a gerund or an infinitive. Usually, the main verb in the sentence determines whether you use a gerund or an infinitive.
the most common verbs followed by a gerund are
Admit

Appreciate

Avoid

Consider

Delay

Deny

Detest

Dislike

Enjoy

Escape

Excuse

Feel like

Finish

Forgive

Give up

Can’t help

Imagine

Mention

Mind

Miss

Postpone

Practise

Resist

Risk

Can’t stand

Suggest

Understand

The most common verbs followed by a gerund are:
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Ex/ I really appreciate having time to relax.

Have you considered getting a job abroad?

Excuse my interrupting…

You mentioned having been in hospital last year.

  • The –ing form is used after all prepositions (including to, when it is a preposition). The infinitive is impossible in these cases.

Ex/ You should check the oil before starting the car.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

He’s always talking about moving to the country.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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Advise

Allow

Can’t bear

Begin

Continue

Forbid

Forget

Go on

Hate

Hear

Like

Love

Permit

Prefer

Propose

Regret

Remember

See

Start

Stop

Try

Watch

Certain adjectives:

Accustomed/ afraid/ certain/ sorry/

Interested/ sure/ used.

Gerund or infinitive?Some verbs can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive, usually with a difference of meaning. The most important are:

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Remember, forget, stop, go on, and regret:

+ gerund refers to things that happen earlier

+ infinivite refers to things that happen after the remembering…

Ex/ I shall always remember meeting you for the first time.

Remember to go to the post office.

I really must stop smoking.(stop what one is doing or does)

Every half hour I stop work to smoke a cigarette. (make a break)

I shall never forget seeing the Queen. (forget what one has done or what has happened)

She’s always forgetting to give me my letters (what one has to do)

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regret + gerund = be sorry for what has happened
  • regret + infinitive = be sorry for what one is going to say

Ex/ I don’t regret telling her what I thought.

I regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you employment.

  • Interested in + gerund = interested in the idea of doing something
  • Interested + infinitive = interested by what one learns or experiences

Ex/ I’m interested in working in Switzerland.

I was interested to read in the papers that scientists have found out how the universe was form.

  • Like + gerund = enjoy
  • Like + infinitive = choose to, be in the habit, think it right to
  • Love, hate and prefer : not much difference between gerund and infinitive, but refering to one particular occasion better infinitive.
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Ex/ I like walking in the rain.

I like to get up early so that I can get plenty of work done before lunch.

  • Would like always followed by the infinitive.

Ex/ What would you like to do tomorrow?

  • Love, hate and prefer : not much difference between gerund and infinitive, but refering to one particular occasion better infinitive.

Ex/ I love lying / to lie on my back and staring / to stare at the sky.

I prefer working / to work in the mornings.

I hate to mention it, but you owe me some money.

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Allow, advise, forbid and permit + gerund = there is no personal object.

  • Allow, advise, forbid and permit + infinitive = if we say who is allowed, advised, etc.

Ex/ Sorry, we don’t allow smoking in the lecture room.

We don’t allow people to smoke in here.

I wouldn’t advise taking the car.

I wouldn’t advise you to take the car.

  • Try + gerund = make and experiment, do something to see what will happen

Ex/ I tried sending her flowers but it didn’t have any effect.

Try putting in some vinegar, taht might make it taste a bit better.

  • Try + infinitive = make an effort, attempt to do something difficult.

Ex/ Please, try to understand.

I once tried to learn Japanese.

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Afraid of + gerund = afraid of + infinitive. Little difference of meaning.

Ex/ I’m afraid of flying / to fly

I’m afraid of telling / to tell her.

  • Begin and start + gerund or infinitive. No real difference of meaning.

Ex/ How old were you when you first started playing the piano?

  • After begin and start, the verbs understand and realize are only used in the infinitive.

Ex/ She began to understand what he really wanted.

  • Propose, attempt, intend, continue, can’t bear and be accustomed to + gerund or infinitive. Infinitive more common with propose, attempt and intend.

Ex/ I can’t bear getting /to get my hands dirty.

He intends to double the advertising budget.

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Sorry + infinitive = we apologize for something that we are doing or about to do.

Ex/ Sorry to disturb you, could I speak to you for a moment?

Sorry + gerund = we apologize for something we have done (we use for + -ing or that-clause)

Ex/ I’m sorry for waking you up yesterday.

I’m sorry that I woke you up yesterday.