Let's start from the basics Gerund (Present Participle): VERB + -ING
(eating, going, studying
Infinitive: TO + BASE VERB
(to eat, to go, to study
Both gerunds and infinitives are action words (i.e., verbs) in meaning, but they act like nouns
in the sentence.
They always take a noun position: a subject
or an object
of the main verb.
A gerund or infinitive is never
the main verb.
• Studying is fun.
• I need to study. Three Gerund Rules 1.
Gerund = Subject
is my favorite time of the evening. 2.
Preposition + Gerund
• I thought about calling
my grandma, but I was too tired. 3.
Verb + Gerund
• They enjoy making
crafts in class.
*Don't forget that some verbs take either a gerund or an infinitive with no change in meaning! Some common verbs include like, love,
• She likes watching
• She likes to watch
movies. Three Infinitive Rules
Adjective + Infinitive
It is fun to play
video games on the weekend. 2.
Noun + Infinitive
• Did you want me to call
*Note: This rule is very helpful, because it is stronger than the "verb + gerund" 3.
Verb + Infinitive
• He wants to learn
Tip: Using a gerund suggests that you are referring to real activities or experiences.
Using an infinitive suggests that you are talking about potential or possible activities or experiences.
So let's say you eat ice cream every day. This is an actual action you are doing. Then you could say: "I like eating ice cream".
On the other hand, if you are on a diet, and you don't usually eat ice cream, then you are talking about a potential action. You could say: "I like to eat ice cream."
Some verbs are only followed by a gerund.
Anticipate, appreciate, keep, miss, risk, suggest, etc.
Some verbs take only an infinitive.
Agree, choose, get, hope, learn, manage, wait, want, wish, etc.
Some verbs can be followed both by gerunds and infinitives, with only a slight difference in the meaning.
I like eating ice cream/ I like to eat ice cream.
A few verbs take both gerunds and infinitives, but with a significant difference in the meaning.
Forget, regret, stop, remember, try.
She regrets quitting
her job.(She quit her job, and now she regrets it.)
She regrets to quit
her job.(She is sorry to quit her job. She didn't do it yet)