Tips to Master Gerunds and Infinitives 2

Last week, we looked at some of the different ways we use gerunds and infinitives. We learned that we can create the gerund by adding (-ing) to verbs (e.g. reading, talking and driving), and that we can use the gerund after some verbs (e.g. enjoy + gerund). So, we can say:

  • "I enjoy reading."

But be careful, the '-ing' form that you see in the example above isn’t the same as this one:

  • "I am reading a lesson."

This is the present continuous tense, and 'reading' here isn’t a gerund.

To understand this better, let’s look at some more examples of the present continuous:

  • Subject + Verb + Complement
  • "They are talking about traveling."
  • "She is driving to California next summer."
This is the present continuous form, so 'talking' and 'driving' are not gerunds. They are part of the verb and they’re called present participles.

Now, let’s look at some more examples of the gerund form:

  • Subject + Verb + Complement
  • "They like talking."
  • "I can’t stand driving in big cities."

This is the present simple form, and 'talking' and 'driving' here are gerunds. So, what you need to remember is this: the gerund looks like a verb but it functions like a noun.

Let’s look at a some of the other ways we use gerunds and infinitives.


We can use gerunds as subjects or complements.

Gerunds can be used as subjects or as complements in sentences. Infinitives are also possible in these cases, but they are too formal and not normally used in everyday English.

Here are some examples of the gerund as a subject:

  • Subject + Verb + Complement
  • "Dancing is a lot of fun!"
  • "Finding a job isn’t easy in this city."
  • "Traveling teaches you so much about yourself."

Here are some examples of the gerund as a complement:

  • Subject + Verb + Complement
  • "One of their favorite activities is dancing."
  • "His passion is painting."
  • "One thing I love about traveling is making new friends."

Again, the infinitive can be used in these cases but the gerund is a lot more common in everyday English.

Now, let’s look at some common “verb + gerund” and “verb + infinitive” combinations.


We use the gerund after the verbs miss, mind and practice.

1. miss + gerund
  • "I miss talking to them."
  • "He misses hearing her voice."
  • "Do you think that you’ll miss living in New York?"
2. mind + gerund
  • "She doesn’t mind being alone."
  • "They don’t mind cooking tonight."
  • "Do you mind driving me to work?"
3. practice + gerund
  • "Can we practice doing this part one more time?"
  • "He needs to practice speaking in front of big groups."
  • "How often do you practice playing the drums?"


We use the infinitive after the verbs hope, plan, and ask.

1. hope + infinitive
  • "I hope to see you again soon."
  • "She hopes to make a living from her art."
  • "They hoped to finish the project by Friday."
2. plan + infinitive
  • "He plans to stay here for a few months."
  • "They’re planning to take a course in photography."
  • "She’s planning to travel across South America this summer."
3. ask + infinitive
  • "He asked to come in."
  • "They asked to be paid in cash."
  • "She asked to borrow my car."
Note: we commonly use an object before the infinitive with 'ask'. So, we can say,

  • "He asked me to come in."
  • "They asked the manager to be paid in cash."
  • "She asked a friend to borrow the car."

Remember! we never use to before the object! For example,

  • "He asked to me to come in."
  • "They asked to the manager to be paid in cash."
  • "She asked to a friend to borrow the car."
August 30, 2018
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Sama Alkhalili

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Hello! I’m Sama, an ELC certified and accredited Neurolanguage coach and the founder of In English With Love. I help professionals and entrepreneurs get the fluency and confidence they need in English to build a life richer in opportunities. I've been helping professionals whose first language is not English for over ten years. From my experience, I know that the problem at this point is that your English is affecting your job prospects. You are an expert in your field and you express yourself well in your native language, but you feel limited when communicating in English. You may feel frustrated because you can’t demonstrate your expertise when speaking in English. You may stay quiet in meetings or in conversations because you spend a lot of time thinking about what to say, even when you have great ideas and valuable feedback. You might feel unsure when writing emails, because you worry that there may be mistakes, or that your emails sound unprofessional. What scares you most i...
Flag
English
globe
Canada
time
308
Speaks:
English
Native
,
Spanish
B1
,
Italian
A2
Hello! I’m Sama, an ELC certified and accredited Neurolanguage coach and the founder of In English With Love. I help professionals and entrepreneurs get the fluency and confidence they need in English to build a life richer in opportunities. I've been helping professionals whose first language is not English for over ten years. From my experience, I know that the problem at this point is that your English is affecting your job prospects. You are an expert in your field and you express yourself well in your native language, but you feel limited when communicating in English. You may feel frustrated because you can’t demonstrate your expertise when speaking in English. You may stay quiet in meetings or in conversations because you spend a lot of time thinking about what to say, even when you have great ideas and valuable feedback. You might feel unsure when writing emails, because you worry that there may be mistakes, or that your emails sound unprofessional. What scares you most i...
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