Gerunds and Infinitives
It can be a little difficult to know when to use gerunds and infinitives.
(See all the gerund and infinitive exercises here).
We use gerunds (verb + ing):
- After certain verbs - I enjoy singing
- After prepositions - I drank a cup of coffee before leaving
- As the subject or object of a sentence - Swimming is good exercise
We use 'to' + infinitive:
- After certain verbs - We decided to leave
- After many adjectives - It's difficult to get up early
- To show purpose - I came to London to study English
We use the bare infinitive (the infinitive without 'to'):
- After modal verbs - I can meet you at six o'clock
- After 'let', 'make' and (sometimes) 'help' - The teacher let us leave early
- After some verbs of perception (see, watch, hear, notice, feel, sense) - I watched her walk away
- After expressions with 'why' - why go out the night before an exam?
Verbs that take the gerund or 'to + infinitive' with examples and exercises: