Tips to Master Gerunds and Infinitives 3

Last week, we learned that we can use the gerund as a subject or as a complement in a sentence. We also looked at how we normally use the gerund after the verbs “miss, mind and practice”.

This week we’re going to learn how the meaning of a sentence changes when we use a gerund or an infinitive after some verbs. Let’s start with these examples:

  • "I remember locking the door."
  • "I remembered to lock the door."

These sentences have different meanings. So, what’s the difference between remember + gerund and remember + infinitive? Let’s find out.

Remember + Gerund

When we use the gerund after 'remember', we’re looking back in the past. Let’s look at this in context to understand it better.

Suppose my roommate says to me:

  • Alex: "The door wasn't locked when I came back home today! Why did you leave it open?"
  • Me: "That's strange because I remember locking it."
  • (I remember that I locked the door. I have a memory of it that I'm playing in my head.)

Remember + Infinitive

When we use the infinitive after 'remember', we’re looking into the future. Let’s look at this in context again:

  • Me: "That's strange because I remember locking it."
  • Alex: "I guess you forgot. Can you please remember to lock it next time?"
Tip: when we ask someone to remember to do something, we use the infinitive. For example:

  • "Remember to call your mom!"

Let’s look at some more examples of remember + gerund:

  • "I still remember buying my first bike."
  • "She remembers being shy when she was younger."
  • "I remember telling you this before."
  • "How did she get into the house? I don’t remember giving her a key!"

And here are some more examples of remember + infinitive:

  • "I hope she remembers to buy coffee."
  • "If you see them, remember to say hello from me."
  • "Thank you for remembering to bring my passport!"
  • "It’s a good thing we remembered to bring the tickets."


We use the gerund after the verbs keep, finish and imagine.

1. keep + gerund
  • "She keeps losing her keys."
  • "I hate that they keep telling me what to do."
  • "If you keep practicing, you'll get better."
2. finish + gerund
  • "Did you finish reading the book?"
  • "I'm waiting for them to finish eating."
  • "Call me when you finish working."
3. imagine + gerund
  • "She can't imagine working anywhere else."
  • "He can't imagine living with them."
  • "Can you imagine traveling for a year?"


We use the infinitive after the verbs refuse, hesitate, and pretend.

1. refuse + infinitive
  • "She refused to answer any of my questions."
  • "They refused to let him stay in the country."
  • "He keeps refusing to help her."
2. hesitate + infinitive
  • "They hesitated to tell him what happened."
  • "Don't hesitate to call me if you need me."
  • "She hesitated to take the job at the company."
3. pretend + infinitive
  • "They pretend to understand, but they don't."
  • "He knows nothing but he pretends to know everything."
  • "She's pretending to be asleep."
September 5, 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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