Infinitive and Gerund Construction – 10 Minute English Learning

Some verbs may take either gerund or infinitive:

Advise

We use the infinitive when the person concerned is mentioned:

  • Thomas advised me to apply for this position.
  • The coach recommends students to read this chapter well before taking the exam.
  • They do not allow us to park in front of the gate.

But we use the gerund if the person is not mentioned:

  • Thomas advised applying for this position.
  • The coach recommends reading this chapter well before taking the exam.
  • They do not allow parking in front of the gate.

Agree

The verb ‘agree’ takes the infinitive, and the same rule applies to its antonym ‘refuse’.

Jay agreed to help them financially, but his mother refused to do so.

But ‘agree to’+ possessive adjective takes the gerund:

She agreed to her leaving early on Thursday. (She asked if she could leave early on Thursday and she was allowed).

Begin

With ‘begin’, you can use either the infinitive or the gerund without any difference in meaning. However, the infinitive is more usual.

            We began working. / we began to work.

Can/could bear (dislike)

‘Can/could bear’ is chiefly used in the negative sense and takes either the gerund or the infinitive.

            I have been living here for 18 years and cannot bear the thought of leaving.

Cease

            My dog never ceases to amaze me!

            The Parle G ceased manufacturing biscuits this month.

Continue

            You have two options: either you cease your operations or continue to bear losses.

            You have two options: either you cease your operations or continue bearing losses.

Forget

            I always forget to sign out my email account, and that is nasty of me.

He never forgets putting anyone down, and that is the reason, people distance themselves from him.

Hate

            I hate to be a bearer of this ugly news.

            She hates walking slowly.

Intend

            We intend to sell this house.

            We intend selling this house.

Like

            She usually does not like to go to the theater.

            She usually does not like going to the theater.

Love

            Alex loves to wind-surf.

            Alex loves wind-surfing.

Mean

When ‘mean’ is used for ‘intend’, it takes the infinitive.

            I mean to clarify this point by attaching this evidence.

When ‘mean’ is used for ‘involve’ (used only with an impersonal subject), it takes the gerund.

My boss is hell-bent over approving this proposal quickly even if it means bending the wisdom of the investment.

Need

“I need you to need me, I love you to love me, I want you to want to me, I am begging you to beg me” – Cheap Trick Song.

Your hair needs cutting.

Prefer

            I prefer walking.

            I prefer to walk.

Propose

When ‘propose’ is used for ‘intend’, it takes the infinitive.

            We propose to begin this assignment tomorrow.

When ‘propose’ is used for ‘suggest’, it takes the gerund.

            We propose getting your account tallied before leaving the counter.

Recommend

            We recommend students to write an essay every day.

            We recommend writing an essay every day.

Regret

            Samantha regrets spending extravagantly, and now she is broke.

            We regret to inform you that the school will remain closed tomorrow.

Remember

            She remembers having made mistakes in her speech.

            She remembered to post the letters.

Require

            The grass requires cutting.

The grass required to be cut. All students are required to take a diagnostic test before they commence their classes.

Start

            The moment her dad yelled, she started crying.

            The moment her dad yelled, she started to cry.

Stop

            Stop complaining and get to work.

            We had to stop to ask the way.

Try

            They tried hard to hush this matter, but could not succeed.

            They tried hushing this matter, but could not succeed.

Used to

            I used to bunk off the school while I was in grade 9.

            I am used to living in a cold climate.

Want

            Do you want to convince him over this issue? He seems adamant.

            The plants want watering on every other day.

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