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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: