Gerund vs Infinitive

April 22, 2013 at 9:37 am | Posted in Gerund or Infinitve, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Gerund or Infinitive ?

Choosing one or the other can be a tricky issue because in most of the cases in Portuguese language we use the infinitive, so having more than one option may seem strange.

To make things clear, let’s sum up their main uses:

Gerund can be used:

  • as a nounreading_is_cool_stickers-ra3f7cbbe7204492b84107f19c4dfd49d_v9waf_8byvr_216
  • after prepositions
  • after some expressions  (it’s no use,it’s no good, can’t help, can’t stand, be used to, have fun, be busy)
  • with some verbs

Infinitive can be used

  • as a noun
  • to express purposeIn-order-to-win-at-life-we-must-have-direction-e1347898917229
  • after some adjectives
  • after some verbs

Which verbs?



There is also a group of verbs which you can use with both Gerund and Infinitive.

In this first group, there is no substantial change of meaning, though we use the -ing form to speak about more general situations.



In this second group, the use of a gerund or an infinitive can change the meaning of the sentence.

go on
 see  hear
 watch  notice


Using an infinitive after this verb it means to stop what you were doing to do something else, while with a gerund, it means to quit the activity.

Look at the sentence in the picture:



Try + gerund means to experiment with an action that might be a solution to your problem.

  • – If you have problems losing weight, you could try eating more vegetables and less sugary and salty foods.

Try + to-infinitive means to make an effort to do something. It may be something very difficult or even impossible:

  • – They tried to save him, but all efforts were useless.

 Go on

Something similar can happen with go on.


  • He went on speaking about his health problems. (= continue the same activity)
  • After speaking about an hour about his health problems, he went on to speak about his new car.


Forget, regret and remember:

When these verbs are followed by a gerund, the gerund refers to an action that happened earlier:

  •   I remember locking the door (= I remember now, I locked the door earlier)
  •   Don’t forget to lock the door before you leave. (Remember to do it.)
  • He regretted speaking so rudely. (= he regretted at some time in the past, he had spoken rudely at some earlier time in the past.)
  • We regret to inform the flight BA546 is delayed. (= something it is still going to happen)

See and hear

Using infinitive after these verbs emphasizes that the action is completed.

  • Ex: We saw him break into the house, so we called the police.

With an -ing form, it conveys the idea that the action was witnessed only temporarily.

  • Ex: When I was passing by I saw her watering the flowers.

Now if you’re ready, let’s test what you’ve learned.


Exercise on verbs that take both Infinitive and Gerund:

If you were very successful and would like a complete revision again, watch this video:

To conclude listen to some lines from songs that use either infinitive or gerund. Maybe they will inspire you to do good work!

The best of luck!shamrock3-gif


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