Gerunds and Infinitives advanced 3
Sun, 11/03/2013 – 07:30 — Chris McCarthy
Some verbs can be followed by a gerund or an infinitive, but with a difference in meaning.
Sarah remembered seeing the concert last year. (Sarah has a memory of – Sarah ‘recalls’ – seeing the concert.
Peter remembered to call Sarah on her birthday. (Peter did not forget to call Sarah)
However some verbs can be followed by a gerund or an infinitive with little difference in meaning.
He likes swimming.
He likes to swim.
Although the difference in meaning is small with these verbs and gerunds and infinitives can often be used interchangeably, there is still a meaning difference. Using a gerund suggests that you are referring to real activities or experiences. Using an infinitive suggests that you are talking about potential or possible activities or experiences. Because of this small difference in meaning, gerunds and infinitives cannot always be used interchangeably:
Henry likes living in London. (Henry lives in London and he likes the experience.)
Henry likes to live in London when he is working. (Henry likes London for work but probably not for his free time.)
I like speaking Italian. It’s such a poetic language. (I like the experience of speaking Italian.)
I like to speak Italian when I’m in Rome. (I prefer the option of Italian when I’m in Rome.)
Sometimes infinitives are used to express the idea ‘in order to do something’.
He bought an Italian dictionary to look up some new words. (in order to look up)
He sold his car to get extra money for his trip to Latin America. (in order to get)
This idea of using an infinitive to express the idea of ‘in order to’ is very common in English.
Here are some more patterns with an infinitive:
Too + adjective/adverb + infinitive: We arrived too late to see the start of the race.
Adjective’adverb + enough + infinitive: He is old enough to take his own decisions.
Enough + noun + infinitive: He has enough money to buy his own car.
Besides fixed structures and expressions that take the gerund form; verbs which indicate location can often be followed by the gerund. The pattern is verb of location + location + verb+ing.
Sarah stood at the corner waiting for David.
I lay in my bed for hours thinking about the future.
Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school
Now select the correct form for the following:
- 1. Sarah is starting _ French.
- 2. Sarah started _ French when she met her new French boyfriend.
- 3. David loves _ in Boston. He’s been living there for years.
- 4. I would love _ in London but it’s too expensive.
- 5. Peter loves _ in smaller towns not in big cities because he can get to know the locals.
- 6 .John continued _ to the gym even though he was injured.
- 7. John is continuing _ to the gym even though he is injured.
- 8. I like _ at Italian restaurants.
- 9. I would like _ at Italian restaurants all the time.
- 10. I would like _ sitting in my garden right now.