GERUND OR INFINITIVE?
Part B: GERUND OR INFINITIVE?
B. Verbs where there is a clear difference in meaning
Verbs marked with an asterisk*
can also be followed by a that-clause.
Come + gerund is like other verbs of movement followed by the gerund, and means that the subject is doing something as they move:
came running across the
Come + to-infinitive means that something happens or develops, perhaps outside the subject's control:
first I thought he was crazy, but I've come
to appreciate his sense of humour.
did you come to be outside
the wrong house?
word has come to mean something
|Forget, regret and remember:
When these verbs are followed by a gerund, the gerund refers to an action that happened earlier:
- I remember
locking the door (=
I remember now, I locked the door earlier)
regretted speaking so rudely.
(= he regretted at some time in the past, he had spoken
rudely at some earlier time in the past.)
Forget is frequently used with 'never' in the simple future form:
never forget meeting my boss for the first time.
When these verbs are followed by a to-infinitive, the infinitive refers to an action happening at the same time, or later:
- I remembered
to lock the door (=
I thought about it, then I did it.)
forget to buy
some eggs! (= Please think about it and then do it.)
regret to announce the late
arrival of the 12.45 from Paddington. (= We feel sorry before
we tell you this bad news.)
Go on + gerund means to continue with an action:
went on speaking for two
- I can't
go on working like this
- I'm exhausted.
Go on + to-infinitive means to do the next action, which is often the next stage in a process:
introducing her proposal, she went on to
explain the benefits for the company.
Smith worked in local government for five years, then went on
to become a Member of Parliament.
Mean + gerund expresses what the result of an action will be, or what will be necessary:
you take that job in London it will mean travelling
for two hours every day.
could take the ferry to France, but that will mean spending
a night in a hotel.
Mean + to-infinitive expresses an intention or a plan:
you mean to dial this number?
- I mean
to finish this job by the
end of the week!
- I didn't mean to hurt
Stop + gerund means to finish an action in progress:
- I stopped
working for them because
the wages were so low.
Stop tickling me!
Stop + to-infinitive means to interrupt an activity in order to do something else, so the infinitive is used to express a purpose:
- I stopped
lunch. (= I was working, or travelling, and I interrupted
what I was doing in order to eat.)
difficult to concentrate on what you are doing if you have to
stop to answer the phone
every five minutes.
Try + gerund means to experiment with an action that might be a solution to your problem.
you have problems sleeping, you could try doing
some yoga before you go to bed, or you could try drinking
some warm milk.
can't get in touch with Carl.' 'Have you tried
Try + to-infinitive means to make an effort to do something. It may be something very difficult or even impossible:
surgeons tried to save his
life but he died on the operating table.
try to phone
at 6 o'clock, but it might be hard to find a public telephone.
- People have to try to live
together in harmony.