As you watch the video, look at the examples of verbs + ing (the gerund) and verbs + infinitive. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, verb + ing and verb + infinitive correctly.
After certain verbs we use the -ing form, and after other verbs we use the infinitive. Sometimes we can use either form and there is no change in meaning. Occasionally we can use either form and there is a change in meaning.
So what’s the rule for whether we use the -ing form or the infinitive?
Sorry, there isn’t a rule. You have to learn which verbs go with which pattern.
The verbs followed by -ing include enjoy, mind, stop and recommend.
I told him you really enjoy cooking.
Would you mind helping me?
It didn't stop raining all day yesterday.
Daisy recommends trying Alfie’s tiramisu.
The negative is verb + not + -ing.
Imagine not having pizza! I eat it all the time.
Verbs usually followed by -ing
stop finish imagine suggest recommend avoid mind miss risk enjoy
I thought you could say: 'I recommend that you see that film'?
Yes, you’re right, you can. But we’re not looking at the more complex patterns with that or an object today.
OK, what about the verbs followed by the infinitive?
These include decide, want, promise, plan and forget.
She decided to go with Elliot instead.
I wanted to visit Rome.
She promised to take me there.
I planned to go to some real Italian restaurants.
She didn’t forget to phone.
The negative is verb + not + infinitive.
They decided not to make pizza.
Here are more verbs that are usually followed by the infinitive:
hope offer fail agree forget manage learn afford arrange ask expect would like decide plan promise want invite
What about the verbs that can be followed by either form?
These include start, begin, continue and bother.
It started raining. or It started to rain.
Don’t bother waiting for me. or Don’t bother to wait for me.
The verbs like, love and hate can be followed by -ing or the infinitive when talking about repeated actions.
I love reading long novels. (British English or American English)
I love to read long novels. (American English)
But when we are talking about situations, we use the -ing form.
Paulo loves living by the beach in Rio.
Do you like working as a waitress?
So, 'I love learning grammar rules' or 'I love to learn grammar rules' are both OK?
Exactly. But there are some more verbs which can be followed by -ing or the infinitive, but the two options have different meanings, for example remember and stop.
I never remember to lock the door, and my mum gets really angry!
(remember + infinitive = remember something and then do it)
I never remember locking the door, but when I go back and check I always have.
(remember + -ing = remember something you did before)
She stopped smoking three years ago.
(stop + -ing = to not do something any more)
It was hot, so we stopped to have a drink. (we stopped walking)
(stop + infinitive = to not do something in order to do something else)
Let’s stop to have a rest now.
OK, later on you can try to remember all the patterns.
Worksheets and downloads
Daisy: What's up, Oli?
Oliver: Hm? Oh, nothing.
Alfie: Oh come on, something's wrong.
Oliver: No, seriously ...
Daisy: Don't tell me, you invited Amy to go to your class dinner but she decided to go with Elliot instead ...
Alfie: Well, you like cooking, so lunch isn't the problem. I know! You want to wear your favourite T-shirt but it's got tomato on it.
Oliver: No! Well, yes, that too – I don't know how to clean it but, no, that's not the real problem. It's … well ... it's Mum.
Daisy: Have you had an argument? When did she phone? Oh, I hate missing her calls!
Oliver: She hasn't called yet, don't worry.
Daisy: So what's up? Come on! Just tell us! I don't like seeing you like this, Oli!
Oliver: Well, she's in Italy. And she promised to take me there. I was looking forward to going. I planned to go to some real Italian restaurants to, you know, have some real Italian food, so I could try to make some at home. And I wanted to visit Rome and Venice and Florence and Siena and ... well, she hasn't even remembered to phone or to send an email or anything!
Daisy: No, but she will. You know she's always so busy. She never stops working. Or maybe she's had a problem. But it'll be cool, she'll phone.
Alfie: Do you know what you need? You need to have some fun! We can pretend to be in Italy!
Daisy: Pretend to be there?
Alfie: Yes! Let's do it! You wanted to practise cooking Italian food, didn't you? So ... here's a cookbook. We just need to choose a dish and then we need to buy ingredients. You cook, Oliver, and I know how to make a great tiramisu. Daisy, you get some Italian music – we can eat in the garden, like at a pavement café.
Daisy: Alfie, you're mad. You're wonderful and mad, and I love doing mad things ...
Sophie: Hi, guys!
Oliver/Daisy: Hi, Mum!
Alfie: Hi, Sophie!
Daisy: How's Italy?
Sophie: Oh, it didn't stop raining all day yesterday, and today it's foggy! It's impossible! I can't see anything or go anywhere. I'll have to come back next month. Oh, and Oli, would you like to come too then? Gennaro Falcone, the famous restaurant owner, has offered to teach you some of his most popular recipes. I told him you really enjoy cooking.
Oliver: I'd love to go, Mum! Thanks!
Sophie: So. What are you doing? It looks ... interesting!
Think about your week. What do you enjoy doing? What do you not mind doing? And what do you avoid doing if possible?