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Grammar : Gerund, Infinitive or both

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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

Verb+ing1. 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 verb1. I enjoy myself at the time of playing. 2. I deny having stolen anything before
Verb+infinitive1. 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 verb1. 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 :

admitHe admitted cheating on the test.
adviseThe doctor generally advised drinking low-fat milk.
allowIreland doesn’t allow smoking in bars.
anticipateI anticipated arriving late.
appreciateI appreciated her helping me.
avoidHe avoided talking to her.
can’t helpHe can’t help talking so loudly.
can’t seeI can’t see paying so much money for a car.
can’t standHe can’t stand her smoking in the office.
completeHe completed renovating the house.
continueHe continued talking.
considerShe considered moving to New York.
defendThe lawyer defended her making such statements.
delayHe delayed doing his taxes.
denyHe denied committing the crime.
discussWe discussed working at the company.
don’t mindI don’t mind helping you.
encourageHe encourages eating healthy foods.
finishHe finished doing his homework.
forgetI forgot giving you my book.
imagineHe imagines working there one day.
involveThe job involves traveling to Japan once a month.
keepShe kept interrupting me.
mentionHe mentioned going to that college.
mindDo you mind waiting here for a few minutes.
missShe misses living near the beach.
needThe aquarium needs cleaning.
neglectSometimes she neglects doing her homework.
postponeHe postponed returning to Morocco.
practiceShe practiced singing the song.
proposeI proposed having lunch at the beach.
quitShe quit worrying about the problem.
recommendTony recommended taking the train.
regretShe regretted saying that.
requireThe certificate requires completing two courses.
riskHe risked being caught.
suggestThey suggested staying at the hotel.
tolerateI tolerated her talking.
trySam tried opening the lock with a paperclip.
understandI 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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