Gerunds and Infinitives

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GERUNDS & INFINITIVES

I. Gerund

Gerund is a verb that is used as a noun. It is formed by adding -ing to the root of the verb.

  • Examples: read - reading; play - playing; dance - dancing.

Gerunds are used:

as the subject of a sentence

Learning foreign languages is not easy.

as the object after certain verbs1

I really enjoy reading comics.

after certain verbs + prepositions2

I plan on going to college.

after certain adjectives + prepositions3

Bob is not very good at managing children.

after prepositions

We'll have no difficulty in selling this product.

after verbs of perception (action is going on)4

I saw him staggering down the road towards the pub.

1 - See the list of verbs that are followed by gerunds. You can also download this list: Verbs Used with Gerunds

2 - See the list of verbs + prepositions that are followed by gerunds. You can also download this list: Verbs with prepositions followed by gerunds

3 - See the list of adjectives + prepositions that are followed by gerunds. You can also download this list: Adjectives with prepositions followed by gerunds.

4 - Learn the rules of the use of gerunds and infinitives after verbs of perception.

II. Full Infinitive

Full infinitive consists of two words: particle to and the base form of the verb.

  • Examples: to read, to play, to dance, to talk, to do, to be.

Infinitives with to are used after:

certain verbs5

I want to dance with you.

adjectives in construction "It is (not)+ Adj"

It’s not always easy to read in English.

after other adjectives

I am proud to be a teacher.

question words

Can you tell me where to put the chairs?

the first/last/only

Henry Ford was the first to use flow production in a car factory.

adjective + for + (pro)noun

Until then cars had been too expensive for many people to buy.

5 - See the list of verbs that are followed by an infinitive. You can also download this list: Verbs Used with Infinitives

III. Bare Infinitive

Infinitives without to (called bare infinitives) are used after:

modal verbs

Tom can’t speak Spanish at all.

verbs make and let

My teacher wouldn’t let me leave the classroom. She made me finish my classwork.

verbs of perception (completed action)6

I saw her open the fridge and help herself to the cake.

6 - Learn the rules of the use of gerunds and infinitives after verbs of perception here.

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