Gerunds and Infinitives
Gerunds and infinitives are sometimes referred to as verb complements. They may function as subjects or objects in a sentence.
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What are Gerunds?
Verbing (Present Participle)
- Add ing to most verbs. Ex. play > playing, cry > crying, bark > barking
- For verbs that end in e, remove the e and add ing. Ex: slide > sliding, ride > riding
- For verbs that end in ie, change the ie to y and add ing. Ex: die > dying, tie > tying
- For a verb whose last syllable is written with a consonant-vowel-consonant and is stressed, double the last letter before adding ing. Ex: beg > begging, begin > beginning. However: enter > entering (last syllable is not stressed)
Gerunds can appear at the beginning of a sentence when used as a subject:
- Jogging is a hobby of mine.
Gerunds can act as an object following the verb:
- Daniel quit smoking a year ago.
Gerunds can serve as an object after a preposition:
- I look forward to helping you paint the house.
Note: The same spelling rules that apply to the progressive tenses also apply to gerunds.
Some verbs and verb phrases are directly followed a gerund:
- Paul avoids using chemicals on the vegetables he grows.
Some verbs can be followed by a gerund or an infinitive without causing a change in meaning:
- Some people prefer getting up early in the morning.
- Some people prefer to get up early in the morning
Some verbs can be followed by a gerund or infinitive but with a change in meaning:
- He remembered sending the fax. (He remembered the act of send the fax)
- He remembered to send the fax. (He remembered the fax and sent it.)
What are Infinitives?
An infinitive is a verb form that acts as other parts of speech in a sentence. It is formed with to + base form of the verb. Ex: to buy, to work.
Infinitives can be used as:
an object following the verb:
- Jim always forgets to eat
a subject at the beginning of a sentence:
- To travel around the world requires a lot of time and money.
an adverb modifying a verb:
- You promised to buy me a diamond ring.
an adjective modifying a noun:
- Tara has the ability to succeed.
Some verbs are directly followed by an infinitive:
- Do you want to call your family now?
Some verbs are directly followed by a noun or pronoun and then by an infinitive:
- I convinced Catherine to become vegetarian.
- He advised me to sell all my shares of stock.
Some verbs can be followed by an infinitive or a gerund without causing a change in meaning:
- Will you continue working after you give birth?
- Will you continue to work after you give birth?
Some verbs can be followed by an infinitive or a gerund but with a change in meaning:
- He stopped drinking coffee. (He never drank coffee again.)
- He stopped to drink coffee. (He stopped what he was doing and drank some coffee.)
Exercises – Gerunds and Infinitives
Choose the correct gerund or infinitive from the parenthesis at the end of the sentence.
- She likes to get up early in the morning. (likes / dislikes)
- 1. Alan can’t stand _________ on trains. (riding/ to ride)
- Mr. Harris enjoys _________ people out to dinner. (inviting / to invite)
- In the old days, gentlemen challenged their rivals _______. (fighting / to fight)
- As the famous saying goes, there’s no use ______ over spilt milk. (crying / to cry)
- Jim stopped _________ his shoelace. Wait for him. (tying / to tie)
- My wife always volunteers ___________ cakes PTA meetings. (baking / to bake)
- Don’t waste my time ___________ about your salary. (complaining/ to complain)
- Eva is having trouble _________ on the exam. (concentrating / to concentrate)
- Please allow me ____________ your Facebook page. (joining / to join)
- You won’t forget _________milk on your way home, will you? (picking up /to pick up)
- to fight
- to tie
- to bake
- to join
- to pick up
Reference Lists – Gerunds and Infinitives
Common verbs and phrases that are followed by a gerund
- be used to
- can’t help
- can’t stand
- end up
- feel like
- get used to
- give up
- go on
- have difficulty
- have problems
- have trouble
- it’s no use
- it’s worthwhile
- look forward to
- spend time
- waste time
- work at
Common verbs that can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive without causing a change in meaning
Common verbs that can be followed by a gerund or infinitive but with a change in meaning
Common verbs that are followed by an infinitive
Common verbs that are directly followed by a noun or pronoun and then by an infinitive