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Gerunds vs Infinitives

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Many students have expressed difficulties regarding whether to use the gerund form of a verb or the infinitive form. Deciding which to use is not always easy, but the more you read and listen to English, the easier it will become. Sometimes either the gerund or the infinitive form can be used, either with the same or different meanings, and sometimes there is only one form which is correct.

Let's make sure we are clear on what the difference between a gerund and the infinitive form of a verb is.

Gerund – a verb in its present participle form (-ing) which acts as a noun in a sentence.
example – "Stop smoking."

Infinitive – a verb in its base form precede by the word "to".
example – "Stop to smoke."

In the example sentences above, both forms can be used, but the meanings are not the same. "Stop smoking." means terminate the action of smoking. "Stop to smoke." means stop an activity in progress for the purpose of starting the action of smoking.

Exercises

Choose the correct form of the verb to complete each sentence.

Thomas Williams is a teacher at EC San Diego English school

Link: Sports Idioms

  • 1. I want to attempt ___ to Hawaii next year.




  • 2. Our teacher suggested ___ to a movie after class.




  • 3. They always argue about ___ home for vacation.




  • 4. My sister can't help ___ so much food during the holidays.




  • 5. Don’t forget ___ the windows before you leave.




  • 6. She said she would promise ___ dinner for us.




  • 7. None of the students can resist ___ Facebook.




  • 8. My father would never tolerate ___ late.




  • 9. Can you recall ___ your first word in English.




  • 10. As soon as he gets through ___ we can eat.