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 English Grammar for ESL learners 


GERUND vs INFINITIVE

When can we use both?.


Sometimes both the infinitive and the gerund can be used, but the meaning changes.
Here are some examples:


Verb Explanation Examples

AFRAID TO
AFRAID OF

What he is afraid to do
Why he is afraid
  • My dad is afraid to take his car.
  • He is afraid of having an accident.

FORGET

What you did not do
Past action forgotten (or not)
  • I forgot to lock the door when I left.
  • I’ll never forget buying my first car.

GO ON

Continue the same action.
Change activity
  • The teacher went on reading the poem.
  • She went on to read a second poem.

HELP

Give assistance.
Be unable to stop.
  • Paul helped Tom to paint his house.
  • I couldn’t help laughing at the monkey!

NEED

What you need to do.
Why you need to do it.
  • I need to go to the hairdresser’s.
  • My hair needs cutting.

REMEMBER

Imperative.
What you recall doing.
  • Remember to buy bread. (= don’t forget)
  • I remember buying bread but I can’t find it now!

REGRET

Present regret.
Regret about the past.
  • I regret to tell you that I’m leaving the company.
  • I regret telling him about my plans.

STOP

Why you stopped.
What you stopped doing.
  • I stopped to buy cigarettes.
  • I stopped smoking last year.

TRY

What you try to do.
How you try / the method.
  • I work hard to try to improve my English.
  • You should try speaking English every day.

Try an exercise

See also: When and how to use them

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