Infinitive or –ing


Some verbs take infinitives (verb + to do). The following verbs are usually followed by infinitives.

afford beg happen plan threaten hesitate
agree prepare tend choose hope volunteer
appear dare learn promise aim (can’t) wait
arrange decide long refuse wish attempt
ask expect manage seem fail offer

Some verbs take an object and an infinitive e.g.

The committee considers her to be the best applicant for the job.

Other verbs like this include:

allow cause enable entitle invite persuade teach
believe command encourage force order show tell

Some verbs take an object and a bare infinitive. (verb + object + do)

e.g. I heard an intruder enter the building last night.

see hear notice watch make
would rather would sooner feel listen to look at
have let had better    


Some verbs take gerunds (verb + doing)

e.g. She prefers teaching adults.

admit avoid consider detest risk
dread enjoy deny (can’t) help fancy
finish miss imagine involve postpone
loathe mind mean suggest practise
delay propose recall recollect resist

Verbs taking both infinitives and gerunds
  1. The verbs continue, begin, start and cease can be followed by either an infinitive or a gerund with little difference in meaning.
    For example:
    It has started to rain/raining.
    The professor began to talk/talking.

  2. The verbs like, love, prefer and hate can take either an infinitive or a gerund with a slight difference of meaning.
    For example:
    Do you like swimming? (as a hobby)
    I like to swim before breakfast. (a habit)

  3. The verbs remember, regret, forget, try and stop take either an infinitive or a gerund, but this gives a different meaning.
    I remember taking the tablet this morning. (I know I took it.)
    Remember to lock the door when you go out! (Don’t forget to do it, in the future.)

    I regret selling the house (I am sorry I did it, in the past.)
    I regret to tell you that you have failed the test. (I am sorry now.)

    Try doing more exercise to lose weight. (Test out something to see if it helps.)
    He tried to reach the net, but was too short. (He attempted it.)

    He stopped to offer me a seat. (He stopped what he was doing to offer me a seat)
    The children stopped talking when the teacher entered. (The children were silent when the teacher entered.)

Exercise 1 Drag and drop (Intermediate)

Some verbs are followed by an infinitive, some are followed by an object and an infinitive or bare infinitive and others are followed by a gerund. Put the following verbs into the right group.

Verb + to do Verb + object + to do Verb + object + do Verb + doing

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Exercise 2 Sentence completion (Intermediate)

Complete the sentences below with the correct forms of infinitive or –ing form.

1. going
2. watching
3. to get
4. feeling
5. taking
6. washing
7. to join
8. talk (talking is also correct!)
9. burning
10. complaining
11. crying
12. to pay

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