Verbs followed by ‘ing’ or by ‘to + infinitive’ (2)

When one verb is followed by another, the second verb can either be an infinitive or an –ing form. Some verbs can be followed by either an infinitive, or an –ing form but with a change in meaning. These are some of the most common ones.

like

  • I like watching old films on TV.

With an ‘ing’ form, ‘like’ means ‘enjoy

  • I like to wash up as soon as I finish eating.

I might not enjoy washing up but I think it’s the right thing to do.

Remember that ‘would like’ can only be followed by an infinitive.

  • I’d like to go to Japan next year, if possible.

try

  • I’m trying to learn Japanese but it’s very difficult.

Try + to + infinitive means that something is difficult and you make an attempt to do it.

  • Have you tried using butter instead of oil?

Try + ‘ing’ means make an experiment. It’s not difficult – it might work, it might not.

stop

Stop + ‘ing’ tells us what has stopped. in this example, buying a newspaper.

  • I’ve stopped buying a newspaper every day to try to save money.

Stop + to + infinitive tells us why something stopped. In this example the reason that the bus stopped was to pick up the children.

  • The bus stopped to pick up the children.

remember /forget

  • Don’t forget to post that letter for me.
  • Did you remember to post that letter for me?

Remember/forget + to + infinitive means that you remember something you have to do – a duty or a chore.

  • I’ll always remember meeting you for the first time.
  • I’ll never forget meeting you for the first time.

Remember/forget + ‘ing’ form means remember something you did in the past – an event or an activity.

 

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