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Simple Rules to Master the Use of Gerunds and Infinitives

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Gerunds and infinitives are sometimes referred to as verb complements. They may function as subjects or objects in a sentence.

Gerunds and Infinitives

Verbs Followed by a Gerund

There are certain words in English that are usually followed by an infinitive or gerund. If you are not sure whether to use the infinitive or gerund, check out our lists below.

  • Acknowledge: She acknowledged receiving assistance.
  • AdmitThey admitted falsifying the data.
  • AdviseThe author advises undertaking further study.
  • AnticipateHe anticipates having trouble with his supervisor.
  • AppreciateI appreciated having a chance to read your draft.
  • Avoid: He avoided answering my question.
  • CompleteI finally completed writing my thesis.
  • Consider: They will consider granting you money.
  • DeferShe deferred writing her report.
  • DelayWe delayed reporting the results until we were sure.
  • DenyThey denied copying the information.
  • DiscussThey discussed running the experiments again.
  • EntailThis review procedure entails repeating the test.
  • Involve: This procedure involves testing each sample twice.
  • JustifyMy results justify taking drastic action.
  • MentionThe author mentions seeing this event.
  • PostponeThe committee has postponed writing the report.
  • RecallI cannot recall getting those results before.
  • ResentHe resented spending so much time on the project.
  • RecommendShe recommends reading Marx.
  • ResistThe writer resists giving any easy answers.
  • RiskShe risks losing her viewing time.
  • SanctionThey will not sanction copying without permission.
  • SuggestI suggest repeating the experiment.
  • TolerateShe can’t tolerate waiting for results.

Gerunds and Infinitives

Gerunds and Infinitives

Following a preposition (gerund only):

Gerunds can follow a preposition; infinitives cannot.

For examples:

  • Can you touch your toes without bending your knees?
  • He was fined for driving over the speed limit.
  • She got the money by selling the car.
  • A corkscrew is a tool for taking corks out of bottles.

Note: Take care not to confuse the preposition “to” with an infinitive form, or with an auxiliary form such as have to, used to, going to

For examples:

  • He went back to writing his paper. (Preposition + Gerund)
  • I used to live in Mexico. (Auxiliary + Verb)
  • I want to go home. (Verb + Infinitive)

Gerunds and Infinitives

Verbs Followed by an Infinitive

  • AffordWe cannot afford to hesitate.
  • AgreeThe professors agreed to disagree.
  • AppearThe results appear to support your theory.
  • ArrangeThey had arranged to meet at noon.
  • BegI beg to differ with you.
  • CareWould you care to respond?
  • Claim: She claims to have new data.
  • ConsentWill you consent to run for office?
  • DecideWhen did he decide to withdraw?
  • DemandI demand to see the results of the survey.
  • DeserveShe deserves to have a fair hearing.
  • ExpectThe committee expects to decide by tomorrow.
  • FailThe trial failed to confirm his hypothesis.
  • HesitateI hesitate to try the experiment again.
  • HopeWhat do you hope to accomplish?
  • LearnWe have learned to proceed with caution.
  • ManageHow did she manage to find the solution?
  • Neglect: The author neglected to provide an index.
  • Need: Do we need to find new subjects?
  • OfferWe could offer to change the time of the meeting.
  • Plan: They had planned to attend the conference.
  • PrepareHe was not prepared to give a lecture.
  • PretendI do not pretend to know the answer.
  • Promise: They promise to demonstrate the new equipment.
  • RefuseShe refused to cooperate any longer.
  • Seem: Something seems to be wrong with your design.
  • StruggleWe struggled to understand her point of view.
  • SwearHe swears to tell the truth.
  • ThreatenThe team threatened to stop their research.
  • VolunteerWill you volunteer to lead the group?
  • WaitWe could not wait to hear the outcome.
  • Want: She did not want to go first.
  • WishDo you wish to participate?

Common Verbs Followed by an Infinitive

Following an indirect object (infinitive only):

Some common verbs followed by an indirect object plus an infinitive:

  • Ask: I must ask you to reconsider your statement.
  • BegThey begged her to stay for another term.
  • CauseHis findings caused him to investigate further.
  • Challenge: Wilkins challenged Watson to continue the research.
  • ConvinceCan we convince them to fund our study?
  • EncourageShe encouraged him to look beyond the obvious.
  • ExpectThey did not expect us to win an award.
  • Forbid: The author forbade me to change his wording.
  • ForceThey cannot force her to reveal her sources.
  • Hire: Did the department hire him to teach the new course?
  • InstructI will instruct her to prepare a handout.
  • InviteWe invite you to attend the ceremony.
  • NeedThey need her to show the slides.
  • OrderHe ordered the group to leave the building.
  • PersuadeCan we persuade you to contribute again?
  • RemindPlease remind him to check the references.
  • RequireThey will require you to submit an outline.
  • Teach: We should teach them to follow standard procedures.
  • TellDid she tell him to make three copies?
  • UrgeI urge you to read the instructions before you begin.
  • WantI do not want you to have an accident.
  • WarnWhy didn’t they warn me to turn down the heat?

Common Verbs Followed by object and an Infinitive

Gerunds and Infinitives | Picture

Gerunds and Infinitives

Gerunds and Infinitives


Wednesday 5th of January 2022

Excellent material

John kuizzet

Wednesday 4th of September 2019

I also teach ESL and found your post very helpful. It is frustrating having to tell students to just memorize the words followed by gerund or infinitive. Up until now I have had difficulty figuring out a simple way to teach the skill of knowing which to use. Your chart with action one followed by action two is great. IKt is the simplest answer I have found. I am trusting that it is true, but will put it through the test in my class. The large group of exceptions to the rule that appear in a box at the end of the chart, once again proves that English is a language that can be learned as a machine type code that follows 70 percent of the rules in it's world, or you can just get the feel for the words by having conversations everyday with English speakers and eliminating your first language is the best way to learn. You can come back to it, but English requires full attention.

Ousmane Diouf

Sunday 2nd of June 2019

Thank you very much. Your english lessons are very helpful.

Essbai mido

Wednesday 15th of November 2017

Thank you a lot for this course is very usefull just we need more post like that to improve our grammar and avoid making mistakes than you a lot