It can be subject, object, predicate, and the object of a preposition: Her feelings were hurt / My hobby is running / I’m good at playing tennis.
It can form the plural: He gave his children two warnings.
It can be part of compounds: writing-desk, walking-stick, etc.
Gerunds: The Gerund as a Verb
Gerunds also have the characteristics of verbs in that they may:
Be used with adverbs or adverbials: He disliked drinking heavily.
Form the passive: The seat-belt saved him from being hurt.
Take an object or predicative complement: Tom likes painting walls. / After reading the letter, she left the room
Other uses of the Gerund (1)
The gerund as part of a prepositional adjunct: A great variety of verbs + preposition / adverb combinations such as be for / against , give up, keep on, look forward to, put off take the gerund: I’m looking forward to hearing from you in the near future.
The gerund after prepositions: They were thinking about going on holiday to London at Christmas. / After leaving school she started to work.
Other uses of the Gerund (2)
The gerund as the object or adjunct of a verb or verbal phrase: The most important verbs used in this construction are: avoid, deny, escape, fancy, finish, give up, it’s no good, it’s no use ,cannot help, keep (on), put off, feel like, can’t stand, imagine, risk, suggest, enjoy, go on, carry on, etc. : He can’t avoid criticising her / Do you fancy coming to the pictures with me? / He has given up smoking / It’s no good convincing him. He won’t change his mind.
Other uses of the Gerund (3)
After verbs of the senses both the gerund and the bare infinitive can be used, but there’s a difference in meaning. Let’s compare these pairs of sentences:
She heard the alarm clock go off : It expresses a complete action, the subject has heard the whole ringing of the clock.
He saw the builders building the block of flats . It means that the subject has only seen part of the action, he has only seen them building the flats whenever he walked by that area. It expresses incompleteness.
Other uses of the Gerund (4)
After verbs denoting physical activity, such as to go and to come : They go skiing every winter / I went shopping with my mother last week / I wanted him to come riding.
After the verbs waste / spend (money / time) : She spends a lot of time doing her homework / I have wasted hours waiting for the bus.
Other uses of the Gerund (5)
When the subject of the –ing form is different from the subject of the main clause, two constructions are possible: either the genitive / possessive or the accusative: Do you mind him / his studying with us?
After nouns in the possessive case. In formal English, nouns denoting persons are put into the possessive case: I couldn’t stand my sister-in-law’s criticizing my children.
Other uses of the Gerund (6)
The use of the perfect gerund instead of the present when we are referring to a past action: He was accused of having driven under the influence / He was accused of driving under the influence.
There are some verbs which can be followed by the infinitive or gerund without any difference in meaning. The most common ones are: start, begin : I started studying / to study English when I was a little girl. However, when the verb is in the continuous form the to-infinitive is preferred: I’m beginning to concentrate now.
Other uses of the Gerund (7)
There are some other verbs which can also be followed by the to-infinitive or gerund with a slight difference in meaning. Let’s compare these two sentences:
I like going to the beach. It expresses a general or habitual action.
I like to go to the beach early in the morning. It expresses specific or isolated actions.
Other uses of the Gerund (8)
There are some other verbs which can also be followed by the to-infinitive or gerund, but their meaning change according to whether they are used in one way or another. These verbs are to remember, to forget, to try, to stop, to regret, to mean . Let’s exemplify these uses in the following group of sentences.
Remember to buy the newspaper on your way back home. It reminds somebody to do something he / she may easily forget or it also refers to something that one must do in the future.
I remember visiting my grandmother when I was a little girl. Somebody did something in the past and now he / she remembers what he / she did.
He has forgotten to take his coat with him. The person does not remember to do something.
I haven’t forgotten meeting my husband. The person remembers something he / she did in the past. This use is generally in the negative form.
He tried to read for a bit. It means the same as to attempt .
When you have hiccups, try holding your breath, if it doesn’t work try drinking some water. The subject makes an experiment or do something to see if it has an effect.
He stopped to buy a bunch of flowers to his mother. It expresses purpose.
He has stopped smoking. He has not continued doing what he / she did.
I regret to tell you that you haven’t passed your driving test. The introductory subject is sorry that one must do something. At the same time that the introductory subject is regretting what he / she is saying the that-clause subject knows about the information.
He regrets not going to university. Someone is sorry that one has (not) done something in the past, that is, he didn’t go to university and now he regrets it.
I meant to call you, but in the end I forgot to. It means the same as intend .
Working as an air-hostess means travelling a lot. It means the same as involve.
We can have the following structures:
I prefer to visit Chaplin exhibition rather than (to) go to the EOI (Present tense)
I prefer visiting Chaplin exhibition to going to the EOI (Present tense)
I prefer tea to coffee (one thing to another thing)
I would prefer to go skiing rather than (to) go fishing but
I would rather go skiing than go fishing .
Full Infinitive or Infinitive with to (1)
The infinitive with to is used:
After certain verbs which can be followed by to-infinitive or by a noun or pronoun in the accusative plus a to infinitive , that is, the structure can be verb + to-infinitive : I want to go to the pictures , or verb + object + to infinitive : I want him to come with me to the pictures , where HIM act as the subject of the infinitive.
The following verbs, among others, admit these constructions: to wish, to like, to love, to hate, to prefer, to tell, to ask, to beg, to advise, to forbid, to invite, to persuade, to order, to expect, to allow.
Full Infinitive or Infinitive with to (2)
After several verbs ( hear, feel, see, and make ) in the passive voice: She was made to open her suitcase at the airport. W here him acts as the subject of the infinitive.
Although in the active voice we use the bare infinitive:
We made her open the case.
Full Infinitive or Infinitive with to (3)
To express the infinitive of purpose:
I went to the theatre to book the tickets. The corresponding negative is often constructed with in order not to or so as not to :
I came in quietly in order not to/so as not to wake up the children.
Full Infinitive or Infinitive with to (4)
After nouns, when the infinitive functions as a modifier of the noun:
A book to read.
After adjectives, when the infinitive functions as a modifier of the adjective:
This word is easy to spell.
Full Infinitive or Infinitive with to (5)
After certain adverbs such as enough and too : This suitcase is too big for me to carry.
After verbs such as to know, to teach, to learn , to show followed by an interrogative word + infinitive (with the value of a subordinate noun clause): I know where to go.
Full Infinitive or Infinitive with to (6)
In the construction: For + a noun or pronoun in the accusative + infinitive: This coffee is very hot for her to drink.
With the immediate future (going to): I’m going to eat in a Japanese.
With to have to / ought to / used to : He has to wake up now if he doesn’t want to miss the train./ I used to visit my grandparents on Sunday when I was a child.
With the structure to be to to express a command or arrangement: He is to go right now.
Full Infinitive or Infinitive with to (7)
In impersonal passive sentences: The Official Language School is believed to have a great number of students.
There are also a number of independent constructions which also use the to-infinitive: To sum up, To start with, etc.
Bare/Plain Infinitive or Infinitive Without to (1)
With verbs of perception, such as to hear, to see, to watch, to feel, to notice, to observe, to overhear : I saw Pablo and Javier enter. Nevertheless, in the passive the infinitive is used with to: They were seen to enter.
Bare/Plain Infinitive or Infinitive Without to (2)
With some other verbs and expressions that govern a bare infinitive, for instance, to make, to let, had better, had rather, had sooner, need hardly, cannot but , etc.:
Javier made Pablo cry / You had better start studying right now if you want to pass your English test.
Bare/Plain Infinitive or Infinitive Without to (3)
In noun predicate clauses, when the subject is a pseudo-cleft sentence, both constructions are possible: