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Gerunds and Infinitives

Gerunds and Infinitives

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10/08/2012

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Gerunds and Infinitives...and what Precedes themGerunds
and
infinitives
are forms of verbs that act like nouns.Ali quit
smoking
in1977.He just decided
to quit
oneday.A
gerund
is a verb + -ing. An
infinitive
is to + the verb.In both the examples above, the gerund and the infinitive are theobjects of the verbs in the sentence. However, as noun substitutes,gerunds and infinitives can also be the subject of a sentence.
Smoking
is hard habit togive up.
To quit
takes a lot of will power.This lesson will focus primarily on verbs that precede infinitives andgerunds when they are used as objects in a sentence. Click here foralistof verbs that are followed by gerunds, verbs that are followedby infinitives, and verbs that can be followed by either.Some common verbs are always followed by a gerund:Jeannie admitted
taking
the money from the desk.The teacher considered
calling
the police.Jeannie said she was so embarrassed that she felt like
dying
.The teacher finally said she would recommend
giving
Jeanniea light punishment.Some verbs are always followed by infinitives.The president said he aimed
to bring
down taxes.He asked Congress
to pass
a tax reduction bill.The president's party consented
to lower
the taxes.However, the opposition refused
to cooperate
.The president promised
to fight
for lower taxes in thenext term.Some verbs can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive.Edina's husband, Bob, began
taking
cooking lessons lastmonth.Soon he began
to try out
all his new creations on her.Edina said she likes
eating
as much as Bob likes
to cook
.She loves
to sample
his new recipes and she loves
not
1
 
cooking
herself.However, she told me she regrets
eating
so much rich food.She's going to try
eating
less of his great food...and, she'sgoing to try
not to hurt
Bob's feelings!
Go, go, go!
 A common expression in English is
go
+ an activityWe go swimming,we go shopping,we go fishing,we go jogging,we go sightseeing, andwe go bar-hopping (or, so I've heard).
Not always exactly the same...
 Some verbs have the same meaning when followed by an infinitiveor a gerund:The same:I like
going
to the races.I like
to go
to the races.The same: I hate
going
to the dentist.I hate
to go
to the dentist.The same:It began
raining
.It began
to rain
.However, some verbs have a slightly different meaning whenfollowed by an infinitive as opposed to a gerund.
2
 
remember, forget, stop
 The difference is often in
the sequence of events
.See what you think about the following pairs of sentences:I remembered
to feed
thedog this morning.I remember
feeding
him hisfavorite food.-----first--------- second ---second----first(I remembered and then I fedhim.)(I fed him and later Iremembered the action.)I forgot
to go
to the bank.I forgot
going
to the bank.-----------------second first(I didn't remember and Ididn't go to the bank.)(I went to the bank, but later Iforgot that I did.)I stopped
to smoke
.I stopped
smoking
.---first----- second--second-- first(I paused what I was doingto have a cigarette.)(I was a smoker, but now I'mnot.)
One more difference
 You can also use either an infinitive or a gerund after
 
 go on
.
However, note the difference:I told Billy to stop, but he went on
putting
his fingers in thesoup.(The use of a
gerund
after
 go on
indicates a continuing orpersistent activity.)I was very proud of Billy. He went on
to become
a famouschef.(The use of an
infinitive
after
 go on
indicates a noteworthyor notorious future activity.)Practice #1 Gerunds and Infinitives
3

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