Or sign in with your account on:

Not a member yet? Register

LANGUAGE:

Verb + ing or infinitive – rules and exercises for intermediate level

Sunday, 20 May 2018
A man eating in a restaurant Verb + ing or infinitive: I hate cooking but I love eating = I hate to cook but I love to eat Designed by Freepik

Need an overview of the rules for using verb + ing or infinitive, with examples to help you learn and exercises to test your knowledge? Read on for our online English grammar lesson for intermediate level students.

Verb patterns: Use of verb +  ing

1. We use certain verbs + ing at the beginning of a sentence when it's used as the subject:

• Smoking is bad for you

• Running is my favourite hobby

2. We also use verbs + ing after a preposition including 'to', 'of', or 'without':

• I look forward to meeting you (where 'I look forward to' means 'I want to meet you')

• My sister is afraid of flying

• They left the party without saying goodbye

But be careful - you always use 'to' before the infinitive!

3. We always use the following verbs + ing, whatever the tense:

• Admit: I admit to liking the Spice Girls

• Avoid: He avoided doing homework as much as possible

• Dislike: Your cat dislikes getting his feet wet

• Enjoy: They always enjoyed studying together

• Risk: She risked missing the deadline

• Miss: We'll miss cooking together at the weekend when we go to different universities

• Consider: They considered seeing the new Star Wars movie at the weekend

• Fancy: Do you fancy trying that new Chinese restaurant? (With a + ing form, fancy means 'want to')

 

There's also a negative form of verb + ing. You form the negative using verb + not + verb + ing:

• My brother likes not getting up in the morning (With a + ing form, like means enjoy)

• My grandparents enjoy not working now they're retired (With a + ing form, enjoy can mean like)

In some cases, you can also use the form ‘verb + somebody + verb + ing'

• We discussed Harry going to College

• I can't imagine the Queen riding a motorbike

Verb patterns: Use of verb + infinitive

The infinitive form of the verb is formed by using 'to' + the base form of the verb.

• I want to study English in the UK

• Jim sometimes forgets to brush his teeth

We always use the following verbs + the infinitive, whatever the tense:

• Offer: He offered to take us for a ride in his car

• Decide: We decided to go for a walk in the countryside

• Hope: Jade hopes to visit America one day

• Deserve: Kanye feels he deserves to be given a prize

• Agree: "Let's agree to disagree," John said

• Refuse: I refuse to wear green, it's an unlucky colour

• Forget: He forgot to go to the dentist

• Learn: You learnt to walk when you were 10 months old

• Manage: He'll manage to pick up the laundry without any help tomorrow

 

There's also a negative form of verb + infinitive. You form the negative by using verb + not + infinitive

• I'm not going to play the drums any more

• Tanya didn't (did not) want to fly as she was scared

Some infinitives also use the form 'verb + somebody + infinitive'

• The told Tom to travel by train because it was cheaper

• We invited our friends to celebrate with us

The continuous infinitive is formed using to be + present participle

The continuous infinitive refers to the same time period as the preceding verb and is used to talk about an action that is happening now or over a period of time:

• This time next month, I'll be sunbathing on the beach

• During that time, Liz was supposed to be staying in Madrid

The perfect infinitive is formed using to have + past participle

The continuous infinitive refers to a time period before the preceding verb:

• She pretended to have enjoyed the meal

• I wonder if she wanted to have eaten a dessert?

We use verb + object + infinitive to command or persuade someone to do something.

We use this form with verbs like encourage, force, tell, require and choose:

• I encouraged him to take swimming lessons

• You can't force me to go to bed at 7!

• She told her sister to bring a bottle of wine to the party

• The college required him to have 3 'A' grades to gain a place

• We chose to travel by plane rather than boat

Verb patterns: Use of verb + ing or infinitive

Sometimes you can use a verb with +ing or the infinitive without a change in meaning.

These verbs include hate, like, love and prefer:

• I hate cooking but I love eating

• I hate to cook but I love to eat

• I love swimming but I prefer sunbathing

• I love to swim but I prefer to sunbathe

 

Other verbs like remember, regret, go on, try, need, stop and like can also be followed by verb + ing or the infinitive, but with a change of meaning:

• He went on singing after everyone else had finished (he continued singing after everyone had stopped singing)

• He went on to sing after everyone else had finished (everyone else finished singing and then he started)

• I've stopped buying a newspaper (The + ing version tells us what has stopped)

• The bus stopped to pick up the children (the infinitive tells us why something has stopped)

• I tried to stop him leaving but he went home anyway (It was impossible to stop him leaving, where trying is something negative or impossible)

• Have you tried skiing? I love it! (Skiing is something you might enjoy, where trying something is an experiment that could be good or bad)

Rate this item
(2 votes)
published in Verb patterns
Read 2399 times
Last modified on Sunday, 20 May 2018 11:38

Are you an English teacher?

Find more students

Are you an English student?

Find your teacher