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  Gerund. Infinitive and Gerund

Grammar  >>>  Gerund. Infinitive and Gerund


  1. The Gerund is one of three types of verbals. A verbal is formed using the verb, but it functions as a different part of speech in the sentence. The term "-ing form" is often used in English language when we talk about the Gerund. The Gerund is a verb form that can functions as a noun. It can be used as subject, direct object, subject complement, and object of preposition.

 The Gerund similar to the Infinitive is used as subject of a verb:

1. To smoke is forbidden.
2. Smoking is forbidden.

3. To read is a good habit.
4. Reading is a good habit.

5. To climb mountains is a good exercise.
6. Climbing mountains is a good exercise.

 The Gerund similar to the Infinitive is used also as an object with the verbs: begin, continue, like, dislike, prefer, fear, attempt, love, hate, can't bear, omit, propose, start, stop, intend, etc. :

1. Please, begin to read, Jane.
2. Please, begin reading, Jane.

3. Do you really dislike to watch movies?
4. Do you really dislike watching movies?

5. To propose to leave immediately.
6. To propose leaving immediately.

7. Robert really like to work hard.
8. Robert really like working hard.

9. My father can't bear to be alone.
10. My father can't bear being alone.

:: Often it doesn't matter whether we say "I like doing" (Gerund) or "I like to do" (Infinitive). But sometimes we say "I like doing" when "like" mean "enjoy":

11. I like listening to music. (=I enjoy it)
12. My boyfriend likes to wash his car twice a month. (=it means that he thinks it is a good or right thing to do)

:: The verbs such as like, dislike, prefer, love, hate, followed by -ing form, tend to refer to a GENERAL activity. When these verbs are followed by the infinitive, they tend to refer to SPECIFIC preference.

13. Diana likes cooking. (General)
14. Diana likes to cook spaghetti for her children. (Specific)

15. I prefer reading a book to watching TV. (General)
16. I prefer to go to the theater tonight rather than go to a restaurant. (Specific), (prefer + infinitive ... rather than + infinitive without to)

We say also: would like/would love/would prefer + infinitive (Specific), (would prefer + infinitive ... rather than + infinitive without to)

:: After the verb "stop" we use the Infinitive to say that "we stop for a while to do something else":

17. She stopped to do her homework to open the door.
18. I stopped to eat the soup to answer the phone.

:: After the verb "stop" we can use the "Gerund" with a meaning = "finish, end":

19. My brother stopped smoking 10 years ago.
20. Kate's grandfather stopped driving because he has problems with his eyes.

 The Gerund can be used as a subject complement. The subject complement follows a linking verb:

1. Tina's favorite hobby is drawing.
2. One of my dauther's duties at home is cleaning her room.
3. His favorite sport is playing tennis.
4. The most exciting experience I had the last summer was surfing.

 Remember that the Gerund is used after the verbs: admit, dely, avoid, deny, fancy, enjoy, postpone, go (for activities), recall, imagine, appreciate, involve, continue, mind, miss, quit, complete, consider, recommend, anticipate, advise, suggest, practise, justify, consider, tolerate, save, mention, risk, resist, regret, prevent, etc.

1. I fancy going for a walk down the main street.
2. I can't imagine my grandmother driving a car.
3. I don't enjoy washing the windows.
4. Does your new job involve meeting a lot of people?
5. He admitted taking the car without permission but denied driving it dangerously.
6. They now regret getting married.

 The Gerund is also used after the phrasal verbs: get over, look up, insist on, accused of, give up, put off, go on, carry on, keep on, take care of, etc.

1. It took me a long time to get over losing my dog.
2. He was accused of stealing her purse.
3. She will take care of writing and sending the report to you.
4. Three years ago our father gave up smoking.

 After expressions such as: be busy, it's (no) good, it's no use of, it's (not) worth, can't stand, have difficulty (in), have trouble, etc.

1. When I entered the room he was busy writing letters.
2. Diana can't stand waiting in queues.
3. This cathedral is one of the world's famous and it's worth seeing.
4. It's not worth getting angry with a fool.
5. We moved to a new town last year and we had trouble finding a good school for our children.

 After the verbs: splend, waste, lose (time, money, etc.):

1. They spent a lot of money building their house.
2. You waste your time watching this movie.



 The Gerund is used as an object of preposition. It always follows the prepositions: for, of, before, at, in, with, in spite of, instead of, etc.

1. He apologised for being late.
2. I'm tired of doing the same job every day.
3. Check the oil before starting the car.

 After the preposition "to" with verbs and expressions such as: look forward to, in addition to, object to, etc.

1. I look forward to seeing you soon.
2. In addition to playing the piano, she also sweeming twice a week.
2. We object to wasting our time like this.

But with an auxiliary form such as have to, used to, going to, we use verb, not Gerund:

3. I have to go home.
4. Kate used to live in the capital.
5. I'm going to move to Spain next month.

 After the verbs of perception such as: hear, listen, notice, see, watch, feel, etc., to describe an incomplete action, i.e. to say that somebody saw, heard, etc., only part of an action:

1. I heard Emma talking on the phone. (I only heard part of the conversation.)
2. Michael saw his wife washing the window.

But we use: hear, listen to, notice, see, watch, feel + infinitive without "to", to describee a complete action i.e. something that somebody saw, heard, watched, etc., from beginning to end:

3. I heard Emma tell the story. (I heard the whole story.)

 The Infinitive and the Gerund are also used as object of these verbs: forget, remember, regret but in these cases the Infinitive and the Gerund mean something different:

:: with remember, forget, and regret the Infinitive refers to an action which take place after remembering, forgetting, regretting:

1. Remember to wash your hands.
2. I forgot to wash my hands before dinner.
3. I regret to inform you that it is impossible.

:: the Gerund refers to an action which took place before the act of remembering, forgetting, or regretting:

1. Do you remember washing your hands before dinner?
2. I shall never forget washing my hands in that dirty water.
3. I bitterly regret having told her that.

 After the verbs need and want the Gerund has a pasive meaning:

1. The car needs servicing. /= need to be served/
2. My cat wants feeding. /= want to be fed/

 With the Infinitive, "try" means "to make an attempt; do one's best":

1. You must try to understand what I say.
2. His parents must try to convince him to study harder.

 With the Gerund, "try" means "to make an experiment or trial":

1. Try adding water to your drink.
2. You may try studying Chinese, just as an experiment.

 With "learn" the Infinitive suggests a curtain degree of success while "learn" with Gerund means no more than "study":

1. She has learnt to cook. (now she knows how to cook)
2. She has been learning cooking. (she has been studying the subject, but doesn't know how to cook yet)

 After the verb "mean" (= involve) we can use the Gerund:

1. John is willing to attend a computer course even if it means sacrificing his free time.
2. If their daughter moves to another country it means being away from them.

 After the verb "mean" (= intend) we can also use the Infinitive:

1. Our team mean to complete this project by August.
2. Susan's husband didn't mean to be rude.

See also: Infinitive 1 and Infinitive 2






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