Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Infinitive or -ing?

Sometimes we need to decide whether to use a verb in its:

•-ing form (doing, singing)


•infinitive form (to do, to sing).

For example, only one of the following sentences is correct. Which one?

•I dislike working late. (???)

•I dislike to work late. (???)

When to use the infinitive

The infinitive form is used after certain verbs:

- forget, help, learn, teach, train

- choose, expect, hope, need, offer, want, would like

- agree, encourage, pretend, promise

- allow, can/can't afford, decide, manage, mean, refuse

•I forgot to close the window.

•Mary needs to leave early.

•Why are they encouraged to learn English?

•We can't afford to take a long holiday.

The infinitive form is always used after adjectives, for example:

- disappointed, glad, happy, pleased, relieved, sad, surprised

•I was happy to help them.

•She will be delighted to see you.

This includes too + adjective:

•The water was too cold to swim in.

•Is your coffee too hot to drink?

The infinitive form is used after adjective + enough:

•He was strong enough to lift it.

•She is rich enough to buy two.

When to use -ing

The -ing form is used when the word is the subject of a sentence or clause:

•Swimming is good exercise.

•Doctors say that smoking is bad for you.

The -ing form is used after a preposition:

•I look forward to meeting you.

•They left without saying "Goodbye."

The -ing form is used after certain verbs:

- avoid, dislike, enjoy, finish, give up, mind/not mind, practise

•I dislike getting up early.

•Would you mind opening the window?

Some verbs can be followed by the -ing form or the infinitive without a big change in meaning: begin, continue, hate, intend, like, love, prefer, propose, start. •It started to rain.

•It started raining.

•I like to play tennis.

•I like playing tennis.




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