1) To-infinitive

Some verbs are followed by a to-infinitive but not –ing. These verbs include agree, aim, ask, decline, demand, fail, hesitate, hope, hurry, manage, offer, plan, prepare, refuse, want, wish, afford, appear, arrange, attempt, decide, help, expect, refuse, seem, threaten, pretend…


- We hope to see you soon.

- I hesitate to ask you questions.

2) Gerund

Some verbs are followed by –ing but not to-infinitive. These verbs include admit, avoid, consider, delay, deny, detest, dread, envisage, feel like, finish, imagine, miss, recall, resent, risk, suggest, postpone, dislike, practice, keep on, enjoy, mind, give up, put off…


- Many people avoid doing silly mistakes.

- The manager delays importing new products.

3) To-infinitive or Gerund (little difference)

The verbs begin, cease, start, and continue can be followed by either a to-infinitive or an ing-form with little difference in meaning.

Example: Even though it was raining, they continued to play / playing.

NOTE 1: However, with these verbs we normally avoid using two ing-forms together, as a repeated pattern can sound awkward.

Example: I’m starting to learn English. (rather than I’m starting learning English.)

NOTE 2: The verbs advise and encourage are followed by –ing when there is no object and to-infinitive when there is one.


- I’d advise taking more exercise. and

- I’d advise you to take more exercise.

4) To-infinitive or Gerund (big difference)

Other verbs can be followed by either a to-infinitive or an ing-form, but there can be a difference in meaning. These verbs include come, go on, mean, regret, remember stop, try…

ç Come + to-infinitive: We use come + to-infinitive to talk about a gradual change.

Example: After some years, they cam to accept her as an equal.

ç Come + ing-form: We use come + ing-form to say that someone moves in the way that is described.

Example: He cam hurrying up the path.

ç Go on + to-infinitive: We use go on + to-infinitive to mean that something is done after something else is finished.

Example: After the interval, Pavarotti went on to sing an aria from Tosca.

ç Go on + ing-form: We use go on + ing-form to say that someone moves in the way that is described.

Example: Although she asked him to stop, he went on tapping his pen on the table.

ç Mean + to-infinitive: We use mean + to-infinitive to say that we intend(ed) to do something.

Example: I meant to phone you last week.

ç Mean + ing-form: We use mean + ing-form to say that something has something else as a result.

Example: If we want to get there by 6:00, that mean getting up before 5:00.

ç Regret + to-infinitive: We use regret + to-infinitive to say that we are about to do something we are not happy about.

Example: I regret to inform you that your application has been unsuccessful.

ç Regret + ing-form: We use regret + ing-form to say we have already done something that we are not happy about.

Example: It’s too late now, but I’ll always regret asking John to do the work.

ç Remember + to-infinitive: We use remember + to-infinitive to mean that remembering comes before the action described.

Example: Remember to take your hat when you go out. (first remember, and then take it)

ç Remember + ing-form: We use remember + ing-form to mean the action comes before remembering.

Example: I remember going to the bank, but nothing after that. (I remember that I went there)

ç Stop + to-infinitive: We use stop + to-infinitive to say why we stop doing something.

Example: She stopped to make a cup of tea.

ç Stop + ing-form: We use stop + ing-form to say what it is that we stop doing.

Example: They stopped laughing when Bill Gates walked into the room.

ç Try + to-infinitive: We use try + to-infinitive to say that we attempt to do something.

Example: I tried to get the table through the door, but it was too big.

ç Try + ing-form: We use try + ing-form to say we test something to see if it improves a situation.

Example: I tried taking some aspirin, but the pain didn’t go away.