Verbs followed by the Gerund or the Infinitive
Verbs followed by the Gerund (-ing)
Here are some of the most common verbs that are usually followed by the gerund.
- appreciate: I appreciated receiving the information at an early stage.
- anticipate: I anticipate having a few problems with my new colleague.
- avoid: I’d like to avoid having a long discussion.
- consider: Have you considered taking a few days’ holiday?
- enjoy: I enjoyed going out to dinner last night.
- discuss: We discussed postponing the meeting.
- dislike: I dislike sitting through boring meetings.
- finish: I’ve finished writing the email.
- keep: He keeps making the same mistakes.
- mention: She mentioned being under stress.
- mind: I don’t mind working late this evening.
- recommend: They recommended meeting earlier.
- risk: We shouldn’t risk losing all that money.
- suggest: He suggested spending more money on the project.
You can also add a direct object (me, you, him, her, us, them):
- Have you discussed me arriving early?
- I appreciated you sending me the information at an early stage.
- I anticipate him having a few problems with this. / I anticipate Peter having a few problems with this.
- I don’t mind her taking part in the meeting.
- They enjoyed us visiting them at home.
- I’d like to avoid them meeting each other.
Prepositions are always followed by a gerund, not by an infinitive.
- I am thinking about going on holiday to Italy.
- She’s afraid of making a mistake.
- I’m looking forward to hearing from you. (here “to” is a preposition, not part of an infinitive)
- She’s good at negotiating.
Be careful with “used to”.
Used to + gerund = to be familiar with something.
- Michael is used to working late.
- Kate isn’t used to getting up early.
- Kevin is used to solving problems.
Used to + infinitive = something a person did in the past.
- I used to live in England. Now I live in Germany.
- I didn’t use to like olives, but now I love them.
- I used to be able to run quickly, but I’m too old for that now.
Verbs followed by the Infinitive
And here are some common verbs followed by ‘to’ and the infinitive.
- agree: She agreed to help me.
- ask: I asked to see the proposal before it went out.
- decide: I decided to come to work early today.
- demand: I demanded to have a refund.
- deserve: We deserved to get better results.
- help: She helped to tidy up after the meeting.
- expect: I expect to have the results tomorrow.
- plan: We are planning to expand next year.
- hope: I hope to see her again soon.
- learn: I have learned to be more patient.
- manage: We have manged to come through the difficult period.
- pretend: He pretended to understand, but really he had no idea.
- promise: We promised not to arrive late.
- want: I want to go on holiday next month.
- would like: I would like to speak to Claire, please.
- wait: We waited to see what would happen.
We can use an object before the infinitive with some of the verbs (me, you, him, her, us, them)
- ask: He asked me to help.
- help: I will help you to finish your work.
- expect: She expected him to arrive on time. / She expected Paul to arrive on time.
- want: They want her to stop.
- would like: They would like us to come to the meeting.
- promise: We promised them we would find a solution.
Verbs that can be followed by the Gerund or the Infinitive
Some verbs have different meanings when they are followed by a gerund or an infinitive.
Here are some of the most common:
Begin + gerund is used just with simple tenses (I begin, I began etc.).
Begin + infinitive is used with both simple tenses (I begin, I began etc.) and continuous tenses (I am beginning, I was beginning etc.).
- I began getting better / I began to get better.
- I’m beginning to do more exercise.
Regret + gerund means that you regret something you did in the past.
Regret + infinite means that you have to do something unpleasant.
- I regret shouting at Kevin.
- I regret to inform you that we need to cancel the contract.
Remember + gerund refers to the past.
Remember + infinitive refers to something that needs to be done in the future.
- I remember learning French at school.
- Please remember to switch off the lights when you have finished.
Start + gerund is used just with simple tenses (I start, I started etc.).
Start + infinitive is used with both simple tenses (I start, I started etc.) and continuous tenses (I am starting, I was starting etc.).
- I started going to the gym last year. / I started to go to the gym last year.
- I am starting to understand the problems.
Stop + gerund means that you no longer do something. This is the normal meaning of stop.
Stop + infinitive means that you pause in order to do something else.
- Patrick stopped smoking six weeks ago.
- We stopped to get some petrol.