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Common Verbs Followed by Gerunds and Infinitives

Updated: May 10

Hi students! Understanding when to use gerunds or infinitives after certain verbs can be tricky when learning English. In today's lesson we are going to learn common verbs followed by either gerunds and infinitives (or sometimes both!). I've included plenty of examples and comprehensive lists of these common verbs!

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Gerunds vs. Infinitives: What's the Difference?

Before diving into specific examples, let's briefly review what gerunds and infinitives are:

  • Gerunds: These are verb forms ending in "-ing" that function as nouns. They represent actions or states and can act as subjects, objects, or complements in a sentence. Example: Swimming is my favorite sport.

  • Infinitives: These are the base form of a verb, often preceded by "to". They can also function as nouns, but they retain their verbal qualities. Infinitives can serve as subjects, objects, complements, or modifiers. Example: To swim is a good form of exercise.

Common Verbs Followed by Gerunds

  1. Enjoy: I enjoy reading books.

  2. Avoid: She avoids eating spicy food.

  3. Finish: He finished cleaning the house.

  4. Consider: They considered going to the beach.

  5. Admit: He admitted making a mistake.

  6. Delay: We delayed making a decision.

  7. Mind: Do you mind helping me with this?

Common Verbs Followed by Infinitives

  1. Want: She wants to go to the party.

  2. Plan: We plan to visit Paris next summer.

  3. Need: You need to study for the exam.

  4. Hope: They hope to win the competition.

  5. Decide: He decided to quit his job.

  6. Agree: She agreed to help with the project.

  7. Promise: He promised to be on time.


Verbs Followed by Either Gerunds or Infinitives With Little to No Change in Meaning

In some cases, certain verbs can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive without a significant change in meaning. This can depend on regional differences or personal preferences.

Here are some common verbs where both forms are acceptable:

  1. Start: She started writing the report. / She started to write the report.

  2. Continue: They continued practicing the piano. / They continued to practice the piano.

  3. Like: He likes swimming in the ocean. / He likes to swim in the ocean.

  4. Love: She loves reading mystery novels. / She loves to read mystery novels.

  5. Hate: They hate doing chores. / They hate to do chores.


Verbs Followed by a Gerund or Infinitive with a Change in Meaning:

In addition to verbs that can be followed by both gerunds and infinitives with little to no change in meaning, there are also verbs where the choice of gerund or infinitive alters the meaning of the sentence. It's important to pay attention to these differences. Here are some common examples:

Remember:

  • Remember + Gerund: I remember meeting her last year. (I recall the action of meeting her.)

  • Remember + Infinitive: I remembered to meet her at the airport. (I recalled the need to meet her.)

Forget:

  • Forget + Gerund: He forgot turning off the lights. (He forgot that he turned off the lights.)

  • Forget + Infinitive: She forgot to turn off the lights. (She neglected to turn off the lights.)

Regret:

  • Regret + Gerund: They regret leaving the party early. (They feel sorry for leaving the party early.)

  • Regret + Infinitive: I regret to inform you that the position has been filled.  (I‘m informing you now, and I am sorry.)

Stop:

  • Stop + Gerund: He stopped smoking last year. (He ceased the activity of smoking.)

  • Stop + Infinitive: We stopped to buy some groceries. (We paused our activity to buy groceries.)

Try:

  • Try + Gerund: She tried eating sushi for the first time. (She attempted the action of eating sushi.)

  • Try + Infinitive: They tried to eat healthier. (They made an effort to eat in a healthier way.)

In these examples, the choice between using a gerund or an infinitive changes the meaning of the sentence, highlighting either the action itself (gerund) or the intention or result of the action (infinitive). Paying attention to these nuances will help convey your intended message accurately.


Comprehensive List of Common Verbs Followed by Gerunds, Infinitives, or Both

List of Common Verbs Followed by Gerunds

  • abhor

  • acknowledge

  • admit

  • advise

  • allow

  • anticipate

  • appreciate

  • avoid

  • be worth

  • can’t help

  • celebrate

  • confess

  • consider

  • defend

  • delay

  • detest

  • discontinue

  • discuss

  • dislike

  • dispute

  • dread

  • endure

  • enjoy

  • escape

  • evade

  • explain

  • fancy

  • fear

  • feel like

  • feign

  • finish

  • forgive

  • give up (stop)

  • keep (continue)

  • keep on

  • mention

  • mind (object to)

  • miss

  • necessitate

  • omit

  • permit

  • picture

  • postpone

  • practice

  • prevent

  • put off

  • recall

  • recollect

  • recommend

  • report

  • resent

  • resist

  • resume

  • risk

  • shirk

  • shun

  • suggest

  • support

  • tolerate

  • understand

  • urge

  • warrant


List of Common Verbs Followed by Infinitives

List of Verbs Followed by Either Gerunds or Infinitives

List of Verbs Followed by Either Gerunds or Infinitives with a Change in Meaning





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