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:
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.
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 *