Hey guys, I’m back!! As promised we are going to continue the part 1 post to discuss more about Gerunds vs Infinitives. I hope you understood everything on the first post, but if not, don’t mind asking questions..
Now, we already went through the gerund part of this grammar topic, so let’s talk about when and how we should use the infinitive. First of all, I want to clarify the difference between the infinitive form and the base form of a verb. The infinitive is composed of “to” + a verb, whereas the base form is only composed of the verb. For instance, the verb “sleep” in its infinitive form is “to sleep” and its base form is “sleep”.
As the gerund, the infinitive also comes as a noun in the subject or object position.
- As a subject: although is not so common to see infinitives as subjects, it’s not impossible, so we will list it here.
To swim is my favorite hobby.
To dance is an amazing activity.
- As a subject complement: this case is more common to happen than the first one. The infinitive complements the subject and between them there MUST be a linking verb.
My favorite hobby is to swim. (notice that I’ve just paraphrased the last example, which shows that both exist but, as said, this one is more common than the other)
- After adjectives: infinitives often follow adjectives to give reasons.
He was sad to say goodbye to his family members.
The company owner was anxious to make the next move.
- Verbs that are followed by infinitives:
- Besides these verbs, there are also verbs that can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive WITHOUT a change in meaning:
- And the verbs that can be followed by both WITH a change in meaning:
Get a bigger, more complete list by clicking here.
I would like to make a side note to discuss these 3 verbs due to the change in meaning whether they are followed by the gerund or infinitive.
Remember and forget follow the same idea, meaning: “remember/forget you have done something” or related to memory in the sense of “having/not having memory about a fact in the past” when is used with a gerund; or meaning “to forget/remember you need to do something” when is used with an infinitive.
Don’t forget to practice when you finish studying. ( In this case, somebody is advising you to practice later, hence this action is placed in the future)
She forgot giving me her keys yesterday. (Here, the woman forgot she has given the keys to her friend, so the action is placed in the past)
Remember to talk to your boss about the vacation trip. (In this sentence, the person had to remember to do it, so the action is placed in the future)
I remember seeing him last week at the gym. (In this one, I remember I saw a friend last week, thus the action is placed in the past)
Stop does not follow the same thinking but it’s even easier to understand and use. Stop with a gerund means you quit an addiction, a habit or anything you used to do. However, when it is used with an infinitive, it brings the idea of “in order to”.
I stopped my car to talk to an old friend. (In this sentence, I stopped driving my car in order to talk to an old friend, so the action was the reason why I stopped)
I stopped drinking soda 6 years ago. (Here, I quit doing something I used to do, drink soda)