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GERUND vs INFINITIVE: using both

When can we use both the gerund and the infinitive?

Sometimes both the infinitive and the gerund can be used with no change in meaning, but in some cases the meaning changes.
Here are some examples:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Imperative.
  • What you recall doing.
  • Remember to buy bread. (= don’t forget)
  • I remember buying bread but I can’t find it now!
  • Present regret.
  • Regret about the past.
  • I regret to tell you that I’m leaving the company.
  • I regret telling him about my plans.
  • START or
  • In non-continuous tenses, the infinitive or the gerund can both be used.
  • In continuous tenses only the infinitive is used.
  • She started to read/reading the article.
  • She is starting to agree with the author.
  • 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 to use
  • I work hard to try to improve my English.
  • You should try speaking English every day.
  • See also: When to use the gerund or infinitive.

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