Verbs which can use gerunds or infinitives
Gerund (verb-ing) or Infinitive (to + verb)?
Some verbs can be used with a gerund or an infinitive, but the meaning changes. For example:
I stopped working to answer the phone.
|I stopped working.|
= I was working, then I stopped.
|I stopped to answer the phone.|
= this is the reason I stopped.
|I'm sure I bought the milk - I remember buying it!|
= I did it, and now I remember it.
|I remembered to buy the milk.|
= I remembered that I needed to do it, then I did it.
|I'll never forget buying my first car|
= I did it, and I won't forget it. Usually negative sentences.
|I forgot to buy the milk.|
= I didn't do it because I forgot.
|I couldn't sleep, so I tried drinking warm milk.|
= this was one possible way to achieve what I wanted.
|I tried to sleep.|
= this is what I wanted to achieve, but it was difficult.
|I need to clean the toilet.|
= active, I should do it.
|The toilet needs cleaning.|
= passive, someone should do it (it should be done).
|I went on working all night.|
= I continued this.
|I was a teacher, but I went on to work as a journalist.|
= this is what I did next
However, some verbs can be used with a gerund or an infinitive and the meaning is the same. For example:
I started to watch/watching TV.
I began to watch/watching TV.
I continued to watch/watching TV.
Usually, if the main verb in the sentence is continuous, we use the infinitive, not the gerund. For example:
I'm starting to learn English.✓
I 'm starting learning English. X (or less common)
Many English people use like with both gerunds and infinitives, without much change in meaning. However, if you want to show that you enjoy something, we say like + gerund and if you want to say that you think it's a good idea, we say like + to + infinitive.
I like going on holiday.
I like to go to the dentist every 6 months.
Practice verbs with ing/infinitive