An infinitive is the base form of the verb, with either the infinitive marker “ to ” or without it, which is called bare infinitive.
The gerund :
This always has the same function as a noun (although it looks like a verb), so it can be used:
as the subject of the sentence: e.g. Eating people is wrong.
after prepositions: e.g. She is good at painting.
after certain verbs, e.g . like , hate , admit , imagine
in compound nouns, e.g. a driving lesson, a swimming pool, bird- watching , train- spotting
NOUNS ( subjects, objects, subject complements) As subjects, they take a singular verb. Only Gerunds can be object of the preposition.
THE GERUND This looks exactly the same as a present participle, and for this reason it is now common to call both forms 'the -ing form'. a. as the subject of the sentence: - Eating people is wrong. Hunting elephants is dangerous. - Flying makes me nervous.
b. as the complement of the verb 'to be' : - One of his duties is attending meetings. - The hardest thing about learning English is understanding the gerund. - One of life's pleasures is having breakfast in bed
c. after prepositions. The gerund must be used when a verb comes after a preposition: - Can you sneeze without opening your mouth? - She is good at painting . - They're keen on windsurfing . - She avoided him by walking on the opposite side of the road. - We arrived in Madrid after driving all night. - My father decided against postponing his trip to Hungary.
This is also true of certain expressions ending in a preposition, e.g. in spite of, there's no point in..: - There's no point in waiting . - In spite of missing the train, we arrived on time.
d. after a number of 'phrasal verbs' which are composed of a verb + preposition/adverb
Example: to look forward to, to give up, to be for/against, to take to, to put off, to keep on:
- I look forward to hearing from you soon. ( at the end of a letter)
- When are you going to give up smoking ?
- She always puts off goi n g to the dentist.
- He kept on asking for money.
NOTE: There are some phrasal verbs and other expressions that include the word 'to' as a preposition, not as part of a to-infinitive : - to look forward to, to take to, to be accustomed to, to be used to. It is important to recognise that 'to' is a preposition in these cases, as it must be followed by a gerund:
- We are looking forward to seeing you.
- I am used to waiting for buses.
- She didnt really take to studyin ' g English.
e. in compound nouns
- a driving lesson, a swimming pool, bird- watching , train- spotting
It is clear that the meaning is that of a noun, not of a continuous verb.
- the pool is not swimming, it is a pool for swimming in .
f. after the expressions:
can't help, can't stand, it's no use/good, and the adjective worth :
- The elephant couldn't help falling in love with the mouse.
- I can't stand being stuck in traffic jams.
- It's no use/good trying to escape.
- It might be worth phoning the station to check the time of the train.
GERUND OR INFINITIVE?
The two groups of verbs below can be followed either by the gerund or by the infinitive. Usually this has no effect on the meaning, but with some verbs there is a clear difference in meaning.
( Verbs marked * can also be followed by a that-clause. )
- I prefer to live in an apartment. - I prefer living in an apartment.
A. Verbs where there is little or no difference in meaning: Allow Deserve Neglect Attempt Fear * Omit Begin Hate * Permit Bother Intend * Prefer * Cease Like Recommend * continue Love Start
B. Verbs where there is a clear difference in meaning:
Verbs marked with an asterisk * can also be followed by a that-clause .
come forget go on
mean regret remember stop try
Come + gerund is like other verbs of movement followed by the gerund, and means that the subject is doing something as they move:
e.g.She came running across the field.
Come + to-infinitive means that something happens or develops, perhaps outside the subject's control:
e.g.This word has come to mean something quite different.
Forget, regret and remember:
When these verbs are followed by a gerund , the gerund refers to an action that happened earlier:
e.g.I remember locking the door ( = I remember now, I locked the door earlier)
e.g.He regretted speaking so rudely. (= he regretted at some time in the past, he had spoken rudely at some earlier time in the past.)
Forget is frequently used with 'never' in
the simple future form:
e.g . I'll never forget meeting the Queen.
When these verbs are followed by a to-infinitive , the infinitive refers to an action happening at the same time, or later:
e.g . I remembered to lock the door (= I thought about it, then I did it.)
e.g . Don't forget to buy some eggs!
(=Please think about it and then do it.)
Go on + gerund means to continue with an action:
e.g .He went on speaking for two hours.
Go on + to-infinitive means to do the next action, which is often the next stage in a process:
e.g .After introducing her proposal, she went on to explain the benefits for the company.
Mean + gerund expresses what the result of an action will be, or what will be necessary:
e.g .If you take that job in London it will mean travelling for two hours every day.
Mean + to-infinitive expresses an intention or a plan:
e.g .I mean to finish this job by the end of the week!
e.g .Sorry - I didn't mean to hurt you.
Stop + gerund means to finish an action in progress:
e.g .I stopped working for them because the wages were so low.
Stop + to-infinitive means to interrupt an activity in order to do something else, so the infinitive is used to express a purpose:
e.g. I stopped to have lunch. (= I was working, or travelling, and I interrupted what I was doing in order to eat.)
Try + gerund means to experiment with an action that might be a solution to your problem.
e.g. If you have problems sleeping, you could try doing some yoga before you go to bed, or you could try drinking some warm milk.
e.g. I can't get in touch with Carl.' 'Have you tried e-mailing him?'
Try + to-infinitive means to make an effort to do something. It may be something very difficult or even impossible:
e.g. We'll try to phone at 6 o'clock, but it might be hard to find a public telephone.
e.g . Elephants and mice have to try to live together in harmony .
VERBS FOLLOWED BY THE GERUND
The gerund is used after certain verbs.
miss : I miss living in England.
Those marked can also be followed by a that-clause
keep, mean ,(=have as result) mention, mind, miss, pardon, postpone, prevent, propose, recall, recollect, remember, report, resent, risk, save (=prevent the wasted effort) stop, suggest, understand,
be devoted to
be used to
can ’ t help
with a view to
look forward to
Form of infinitive
Function of infinitive
Verbs usually followed
Form of infinitive
The infinitive is the base form of a verb.
It may be preceded by 'to' (the to-infinitive)
or stand alone
(the base or zero infinitive).
The to-infinitive is used:
after certain verbs.
e.g. want, wish, agree, fail, mean,
b. after the auxiliaries
to be to , to have to , and ought to
c. in the pattern
‘ it is + adjective + to-infinitive ‘
The elephant decided to marry the mouse
The mouse agreed to marry the elephant
You will have to ask her
You are to leave immediately
He ought to relax
She has to go to Berlin next week
It's easy to speak English
It is hard to change jobs after twenty years
It's stupid to believe everything you hear
The bare infinitive is used:
after most auxiliaries
(e.g. must , can , should , may , might )
b. after verbs of perception , (e.g. see , hear , feel ) with the pattern ‘ V + O + zero infinitive ‘
c. after the verbs 'make' and 'let' ,
with the pattern make/let + O + zero infinitive
d. after the expression 'had better ‘
Examples : After auxiliaries: - She can't speak to you. - He should give her some money. - Shall I talk to him? - Would you like a cup of coffee? - I might stay another night in the hotel. - They must leave before 10.00 a.m.
After verbs of perception : Pattern : S + See + O + V+ing Notice bare infinitive Observe Watch Hear Feel Smell Listen to E.g. I saw her stand/standing . I watch the children play/playing in the park . I listened to her sing/singing .
After the verbs ' make ' and ' let ' : Pattern : S + Let + O + V(bare infinitive) Make Have E.g. I let him go . I make her cry . I have my mother wash my clothes . NOTICE that the ' to-infinitive ' is used when ' make ' is in the passive voice: - I am made to sweep the floor every day. - She was made to eat fish even though she hated it.
After 'had better' :
We had better take some warm clothing. - She had better ask him not to come. - You 'd better not smile at a crocodile! - We had better reserve a room in the hotel. - You 'd better give me your address. - They had better work harder on their
Function of infinitive The most common uses of the infinitive are: ~ As a subject/object – noun e.g. To err is human, to forgive is divine. ( S ) I saw a dog cross the road. ( O ) ~ As an adjective e.g. Their offer to reduce your workload is quite attractive. ( acts as adjective to qualify “ their offer ” ) ~ As an adverb e.g. I stop to buy a tape. (acts as adverb to qualify “ stop ” )
The to-infinitive is used after the verbs in this group, without a preceding noun. ( * can also followed by “ that-clause ” ) afford agree * aim appear arrange * bother care claim * condescend consent decide * demand * determine * fail guarantee * happen hasten have (= be obliged) hesitate hope * learn long manage offer prepare pretend * proceed promise * propose prove (= turn out) refuse resolve * seek seem strive swear * tend threaten * trouble undertake volunteer vow *
B. These are the most common of the verbs that are normally followed by a noun + infinitive. accustom aid appoint assist cause challenge command * defy direct * drive empower enable encourage entice entitle entreat force get implore * incite induce inspire instruct * invite lead leave (make someone responsible) oblige order * persuade * press prompt provoke remind * require * stimulate summon teach tell tempt trust * warn *