Verb patterns: gerund or infinitive


If we use two verbs together in a sentence, for example to describe an opinion or intention about an action, the second verb takes either the gerund form or the infinitive form with "to".

A gerund is the "–ing" form of a verb.

Some verbs can only be followed with a gerund, some can only be followed with the infinitive with "to" and both forms can follow some verbs.


gerund only:
infinitive with "to" only:
gerund or infinitive with "to":


There are no clear rules about when to use the gerund or infinitive form after the main verb; the correct forms must be learnt.

Here are some examples (the simple present of the main verb is shown here, but the same forms of the second verb apply when using other tenses).


Choose the option with the greatest number of correct answers:
She loves ____ lots of books when she goes on holiday.


We want ____ to Brazil in December.


He didn't begin ____ on the project until this morning.


Did they prefer ____ the food themselves?


Further practice

Complete the sentences by choosing the correct answer from a, b, c or d:
She ____ early in the morning.


He ____ the project before the deadline.


They ____ in the race next year.


I have promised ____ dinner tonight.


Did they ____ in a hotel near the beach?


He didn't ____ in the city.


Additional grammar points

Some verbs can be followed by the gerund or the infinitive, but they produce different meanings:

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Related links

The following exercises include use of this grammar structure:
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