Gerunds and Infinitives Part 1

1. A gerund is a noun made from a verb by adding “-ing.” The gerund form of the verb “read” is “reading.” You can use a gerund as the subject, the complement, or the object of a sentence.

Examples:

* Reading helps you learn English. subject of sentence

* Her favorite hobby is reading. complement of sentence

* I enjoy reading. object of sentence

Gerunds can be made negative by adding “not.”

Examples:

* He enjoys not working.

* The best thing for your health is not smoking.

1. A gerund is a noun made from a verb by adding “-ing.” The gerund form of the verb “read” is “reading.” You can use a gerund as the subject, the complement, or the object of a sentence.

Examples:

* Reading helps you learn English. subject of sentence

* Her favorite hobby is reading. complement of sentence

* I enjoy reading. object of sentence

Gerunds can be made negative by adding “not.”

Examples:

* He enjoys not working.

* The best thing for your health is not smoking.

7. Gerunds can often be modified with possessive forms such as his, her, its, your, their, our, John’s, Mary’s, the machine’s, and so on. This makes it clearer who or what is performing the action.

Examples:

* I enjoyed their singing. They were singing.

* She understood his saying no to the offer. He said no.

* Sam resented Debbie’s coming late to the dinner. Debbie came late to the dinner.

* We discussed the machine’s being broken. The machine is broken.

8. Some verbs are followed by a noun plus an infinitive. In some situations, the noun is required. In other situations, the noun is optional. List of Verbs Followed by a Noun + an Infinitive

Examples:

* The police ordered the man to stop. noun is required

* She asked to leave. noun is optional

* She asked him to leave. noun is optional

9. Some verbs are usually followed by a gerund, BUT they can also be followed by a noun plus infinitive. Using a noun plus infinitive will usually change who is performing the action. List of Verbs followed by a Gerund OR a Noun + Infinitive

Examples:

* I advised taking the train. in general

* I advised him to take the train. He will take the train.

10. There are many “go + gerund” expressions used for adventure sports and individual recreational activities. List of Go + Gerund Combinations

Examples:

* I go swimming every weekend.

* Would you ever go skydiving?

11. Gerunds are used after prepositions. Most commonly, these are “verb + preposition” combinations. For reference, see the Verb + Preposition Dictionary and the Phrasal Verb Dictionary. You don’t have to memorize these resources, you just need to remember that gerunds are used after prepositions!

Examples:

* They admitted to committing the crime.

* Leslie made up for forgetting my birthday.

* He is thinking about studying abroad.

12. Remember that there are many “adjective + preposition” combinations and “noun + preposition” combinations in English as well. These are also followed by gerunds. List of Adjective + Preposition Combinations Followed by Gerunds and List of Noun + Preposition Combinations Followed by Gerunds. Once again, you don’t have to memorize these resources, you just need to remember that gerunds are used after prepositions!

Examples:

* Sandy is scared of flying. adjective + preposition

* Nick is anxious about taking the examination. adjective + preposition

* His interest in becoming a professional snowboarder was well known. noun + preposition

* Thomas’ story about seeing a grizzly bear was really exciting. noun + preposition

13. Some verbs can be followed by a gerund or an infinitive, but with a difference in meaning. List of Verbs Followed by a Gerund or Infinitive (Different Meaning)

Examples:

* Nancy remembered getting married. Nancy has a memory of getting married.

* Fred remembered to bring sunblock to the beach. Fred remembered that he needed to bring sunblock.

14. Some verbs can be followed by a gerund or an infinitive with little difference in meaning. List of Verbs Followed by a Gerund or Infinitive (Similar Meaning)

Examples:

* She likes swimming.

* She likes to swim.

Although the difference in meaning is small with these particular 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, such as in the examples below.

Examples:

* The British reporter likes living in New York. He lives in New York and he likes what he experiences there.

* The British reporter likes to live in New York whenever he works in the United States. He likes the option or possibility of living in New York when he works in the United States.

* I like speaking French because it’s such a beautiful language. I like the experience of speaking French, and the way it makes me feel when I speak the language.

* I like to speak French when I’m in France. I prefer the option of speaking French when I am in France.

15. There are many “be + adjective” combinations that are commonly followed by infinitives. List of Be + Adjective Combinations Followed by Infinitives

Examples:

* They were anxious to begin.

* She was delighted to receive such good feedback.

* He is lucky to have such good friends.

16. There are also many nouns that are commonly followed by infinitives. List of Nouns Followed by Infinitives

Examples:

* It was a good decision to move to San Francisco.

* His wish to become an actor was well known.

* Laura’s desire to improve impressed me.

17. Sometimes infinitives are used to express the idea of “in order to do something.”

Examples:

* He bought the English dictionary to look up difficult words. in order to look up

* Janine sold her car to get the money that she needed. in order to get

* Juan uses Englishpage.com to learn English. in order to learn

This idea of “in order to do something” is found in many English patterns.

too + adjective/adverb + infinitive

Examples:

* The box is too heavy to carry.

* The television is too expensive to buy.

* Fiona ran too slowly to win the race.

* We arrived too late to see the beginning of the movie.

adjective/adverb + enough + infinitive

Examples:

* She is tall enough to reach the book on the shelf.

* Brian was smart enough to enter college at the age of 12.

* Linda runs quickly enough to win the race.

enough + noun(s) + infinitive

Examples:

* He has enough money to buy his own car.

* Cheryl owns enough books to start her own library!

* Diane needs enough time to finish writing her book.

18. Certain expressions are followed by “ING” forms. List of Expressions followed by Verb+ing Forms

Examples:

* He had fun fishing.

* They had difficulty finding a parking place.

* She spent her time practicing the piano.

19. Verbs which indicate location can often be followed by “ING” forms. This pattern is VERB OF LOCATION + LOCATION + VERB+ING. List of Verbs of Location

Examples:

* Sarah stood at the corner waiting for Tom.

* Melissa lay in bed thinking about her future.

* Don clung to the side of the cliff looking down.

20. In addition to simple gerund and infinitive forms, there are progressive gerund and infinitive forms, passive gerund and infinitive forms and perfect gerund and infinitive forms as well as combinations of these forms. Progressive forms are used to emphasize that an action is taking place now. Passive forms are used to emphasize that the subject of the sentence is being acted upon. Perfect gerund and infinitive forms are used to emphasize completion in both the past and the future. Study the examples below to help understand these concepts. To learn more about progressiveness, the passive voice and the perfect aspect, complete the Englishpage.com Verb Tense Tutorial.

SIMPLE

The teacher enjoys teaching.

The teacher wants to teach.

PROGRESSIVE

Mr. Smith is really enjoying teaching his class.

Looks the same as simple form above.

Mr. Smith would like to be teaching his class.

PASSIVE

The students enjoy being taught.

The students want to be taught.

PERFECT

The retired teacher recalled having taught.

The teacher was expecting to have taught that already.

PASSIVE + PROGRESSIVE

The students are enjoying being taught by such an exciting new teacher.

Looks the same as the passive form above.

The students would like to be being taught by Mr Smith.

PASSIVE + PERFECT

The older students recalled having been taught that already.

The students were expecting to have been taught that by now.

Exercises Based on Part 3 of the Gerunds and Infinitives Tutorial

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