Advanced Gerunds and -to infinitives

As I’m sure you know, with some verbs we use a gerund and with others we use to-infinitive. For those of you wishing to expand your knowledge of these two areas of English grammar, here are a few harder examples for you to enjoy.


-to infinitive

A few verbs allow you to use either, for example: love, hate, and like.

  • I’m loving it. You’re going to love it.
  • I could see he was hating every minute of it. She was going to hate him once he told her the truth.

With a verb like ‘begin’ you must take into account the tense. E.g.

  • Present simple = I began feeding the cats at 5pm and finished at about 5:45pm. (began + gerund)

  • Present tense = I’m beginning to think the cats no longer enjoy dry cat food. (begin as gerund + to-infinitive)

The verb stop differs in meaning if it’s gerund or -to infinitive.

If it’s the former, a gerund, then it is discussing a process:

  • Stop messing about and help me.
  • Stop lying to everyone!
  • Stop smoking.

If it is a stop + -to infinitive then it’s meaning is ‘in order to do something‘:

  • The policeman stopped to catch his breath.
  • I’ll stop to pick you up outside at 4pm sharp.
  • We stopped to wish you a happy birthday.

With the verbs forget and remember + gerund = forget you’ve done something in the past e.g.

  • I’m always forgetting where I left the keys.
  • She can’t be blamed for not remembering if no one told her in the first place.

With forget and remember + -to infinitive = something to do with the future e.g.

  • Before you leave for school you need to remember to feed the cat.
  • Don’t forget to feed the cat before you go to school.

There are verbs which can give a passive/active twist e.g. need + gerund = passive

  • The dishes need washing. (need + -ing = passive)
  • That new cat needs vaccinating. (need + -ing = passive)
  • The dog needs walking. (need + -ing = passive)

And need + -to infinitive = active

  • You need to wash the dishes. (need + -to infinitive = active)
  • I need to vaccinate the cat. (need + -to infinitive = active)
  • The kids need to walk the dog. (need + -to infinitive = active)

So there you are with a few little examples of more advanced uses for gerunds and -to infinitives. Enjoy and remember to add several examples of your own under mine to help cement the concepts.

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