Tips to Master Gerunds and Infinitives 1


For the next couple of weeks, we're going to learn when to use the infinitive and when to use the gerund. Let's get started!


"In school we learn that mistakes are bad, and we are punished for making them. Yet, if you look at the way humans are designed to learn, we learn by making mistakes. We learn to walk by falling down. If we never fell down, we would never walk." ― Robert T. Kiyosaki


We use the gerund after prepositions.

Let’s look at the quote I shared at the beginning of this post:

  • “...we are punished for making them”
  • “...we are punished for make them”
  • “.. we learn by making mistakes”
  • “.. we learn by make mistakes”
This is a rule. After prepositions and conjunctions such as, 'for, without, at, after, of, etc.' and in some cases 'to', we normally use the gerund. Here are some examples,

  • “Thank you for being here.”
  • “They left without saying goodbye.”
  • “She’s good at learning new things.”
  • “I felt so much better after talking to them.”
  • “He’s not scared of moving to a new country.”
  • “I’m used to swimming in cold water.”
  • “We’re looking forward to going to the concert.”


We use the gerund after the verbs avoid, discuss and enjoy.

Memorizing a big list of verbs and the correct form that comes after them isn’t a very effective method. Instead, you can learn a few verbs at a time and practice making sentences with them until the selection comes naturally to you.

We use the gerund after the following verbs:

1. avoid + gerund
  • "I crossed the street to avoid meeting him."
  • "You can’t avoid making mistakes when you’re learning something new."
  • "I try to avoid driving in cities during rush hour."
2. discuss + gerund
  • "We discussed going on holiday together."
  • "They’ve discussed moving to a smaller house."
  • "They need to discuss finding better ways to promote the business."

Remember! We never use 'about' after 'discuss':

"We discussed going on holiday together."
"We discussed about going on holiday together."
"They’ve discussed moving to a smaller house."
"They’ve discussed about moving to a smaller house."

3. enjoy + gerund
  • "They really enjoyed talking to you."
  • "We don’t enjoy waking up early."
  • "Do you enjoy reading poetry?"


We use the infinitive after want, agree, and decide.

1. want + infinitive
  • "They want to go to California next year."
  • "They want go to California next year."
  • "She doesn’t want to stay here."
  • "She doesn’t want stay here."
  • "Do you want to watch a movie?"
  • "Do you want watch a movie?"
2. agree + infinitive
  • "We agreed to find a better way to communicate."
  • "She agreed to take a different route this time."
  • "They agreed to extend my visa here."
Remember! We don't need to use the verb 'to be' with 'agree':
  • I am agree..
  • I agree.
  • She is agree..
  • She agrees.
3. decide + infinitive
  • "Why did you decide to look for a new job?"
  • "What did you decide to do?"
  • "More women are deciding to not have children."
Be Careful! We never use 'to + don’t':
  • "More women are deciding to don’t have children."
  • "More women are deciding to not have children."
Join me again next week! I'll share some more tips on how to master gerunds and infinitives.
2018年8月23日
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Sama Alkhalili

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I help motivated professionals improve their job performance and accelerate career progression by advancing their communication skills in English. I've been helping non-native speakers improve their English communication skills for over ten years. From my experience, I know that the problem at this point is that your English is affecting your job performance. You are an expert in your field and you express yourself well in your native language, but feel unable to communicate in English. You might feel embarrassed because your colleagues and clients have a hard time understanding you when you speak in English. You might not understand or know how to use business English idioms, expressions, and phrases to express yourself. You might stay quiet in meetings because you spend a lot of time thinking about what to say even when you have great ideas and valuable feedback. You may also feel challenged when writing business emails, because you worry that there may be mistakes, or that your...
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使用できる言語:
英語
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I help motivated professionals improve their job performance and accelerate career progression by advancing their communication skills in English. I've been helping non-native speakers improve their English communication skills for over ten years. From my experience, I know that the problem at this point is that your English is affecting your job performance. You are an expert in your field and you express yourself well in your native language, but feel unable to communicate in English. You might feel embarrassed because your colleagues and clients have a hard time understanding you when you speak in English. You might not understand or know how to use business English idioms, expressions, and phrases to express yourself. You might stay quiet in meetings because you spend a lot of time thinking about what to say even when you have great ideas and valuable feedback. You may also feel challenged when writing business emails, because you worry that there may be mistakes, or that your...
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