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Gerunds and Infinitives: Verb +

Gerund or Infinitive
Some verbs can be followed by an infinitive or a
gerund. These verbs in turn can be subdivided into
two groups, verbs with little difference in meaning,
and verbs with a distinct change in meaning.

Verb + Gerund or Infinitive: Little difference in


Here are some common verbs that can be followed by

gerunds or infinitives with little change in meaning.
A change of meaning may still exist however, as
there are almost limitless combinations of verbs and

begin - She began to sing. - He began working here

last year.
bother - Don't bother to wash the dishes. I'll do it. -
Don't bother washing the dishes. I'll do it.
continue - You can continue to live here for 6
months. - You can continue living here for 6 months.
start - I started to learn the clarinet when I was 8. I
started learning the clarinet when I was 8.
love / like / hate /prefer
These four verbs use the gerund for situations or
actions in progress. The infinitive is used for factual

- I hate working at my new job (I'm workng there
- I hate to work on Sundays. (specific time and

- I like playing the piano. (I like the process
andfeeling of playing the piano.)
- I like to play the piano. (It's a fact I like to play the

- I love living in the country. (I'm probably living
there now.)
- I love to live in the country. (Generally speaking I
like the country, maybe I'm not living there now.)

- I prefer to study by myself. (Sounds factual)
- I prefer studying by myself. (Sounds more personal,
perhaps I'm studying now.)

These verbs are also often used with would and the
infinitive, and refer to specific situations. For
- I would love to go to China.
- We would prefer to meet at 7.00.

Allow / permit
Allow and permit have one pattern for gerunds and
another for infinitives.
allow + gerund - My teacher doesn't allow eating in
allow + object + infinitive - My teacher doesn't allow
us to eat in class.
permit + gerund - My teacher doesn't permit eating in
permit + object + infinitive - My teacher doesn't
permit us to eat in class.