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Grammar : Gerund, Infinitive or both

Infinitive and Gerund

One of the difficulties of the English language is that some verbs are followed by the gerund (ex : doing) and others are followed by the infinitive (ex : to do). Other verbs, however, can be followed by both

Infinitive and gerund : exercice


Generally speaking we can use the following rules

Examples Rules Explanations
Verb+ing 1. I enjoy playing. 2. I denied stealing. Often we use the gerund for an action that happens before or at the same time as the action of the main verb 1. I enjoy myself at the time of playing. 2. I deny having stolen anything before
Verb+infinitive 1. I decided to visit my uncle. 2. I want to go out. Often we use the infinitive for actions that follow the action of the main verb 1. Visiting my uncle was an action of my decision. It comes after. 2. What I want (now) is to go out (after/later)

These rules are helpful but DO NOT always explain all uses of gerunds and infinitives.

Verbs that can be followed by a gerund:

1- After verbs that express likes/dislikes :
don’t mind
can’t stand
can’t bear

” I like playing soccer but I hate boxing.”

2- After certain other verbs, such as :

Verb Example
admit He admitted cheating on the test.
advise The doctor generally advised drinking low-fat milk.
allow Ireland doesn’t allow smoking in bars.
anticipate I anticipated arriving late.
appreciate I appreciated her helping me.
avoid He avoided talking to her.
can’t help He can’t help talking so loudly.
can’t see I can’t see paying so much money for a car.
can’t stand He can’t stand her smoking in the office.
complete He completed renovating the house.
continue He continued talking.
consider She considered moving to New York.
defend The lawyer defended her making such statements.
delay He delayed doing his taxes.
deny He denied committing the crime.
discuss We discussed working at the company.
don’t mind I don’t mind helping you.
encourage He encourages eating healthy foods.
finish He finished doing his homework.
forget I forgot giving you my book.
imagine He imagines working there one day.
involve The job involves traveling to Japan once a month.
keep She kept interrupting me.
mention He mentioned going to that college.
mind Do you mind waiting here for a few minutes.
miss She misses living near the beach.
need The aquarium needs cleaning.
neglect Sometimes she neglects doing her homework.
postpone He postponed returning to Morocco.
practice She practiced singing the song.
propose I proposed having lunch at the beach.
quit She quit worrying about the problem.
recommend Tony recommended taking the train.
regret She regretted saying that.
require The certificate requires completing two courses.
risk He risked being caught.
suggest They suggested staying at the hotel.
tolerate I tolerated her talking.
try Sam tried opening the lock with a paperclip.
understand I understand his quitting.

3- After prepositions :

interested in …
instead of …
good at …
before …
after …

“I am interested in collecting stamps.”
“After playing football I drank an orange juice”.

4- After certain expressions :

it’s no use …
it’s no good …
there’s no point in …
I can’t help…
I don’t mind…
I can’t stand/bear…

” It’s no use convincing him to revise his lessons. He’s so stubborn.”

Verbs that can be followed by both an infinitive and a gerund:

Some verbs can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive. Here are some examples:

“I started learning english when I was young.”
“I started to learn english when I was at the primary school.”


1. I am keen on work/to work/working in the computer industry.
2. Amy decided see/to see/ seeing a doctor.
3. Leila enjoys read/to read/reading love stories.
4. Do you intend learn/to learn/learning Italian or English?
5. Do you mind help/to help/helping me wash the dishes?
6. Alan asked talk/to talk/talking to the boss.
7. I can’t help laugh/to laugh/laughing when I watch Mr Been.
8. If Sara keeps come/to come/coming to work late, she’ll have problems with the boss.
9. Liza hates study/to study/studying Maths.
10. Are you interested in live/to live/living in Africa ?

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