Some verbs have the pattern N + V + to+infinitive:

They agreed to help.
We decided to go.

Some verbs have the pattern N + V + N + to+infinitive:

She told him to go home.
They advised us to wait.

Note: we suggest that you read about Verbs with -ing forms before doing this activity.



Merry Christmas guys! I want to ask if it's grammatical to use an infinitive before a gerund in a sentence: "i will like to start training as soon as possible." and "I'd love to give teaching a chance." thanks

Hello Timmosky,

Your sentences are grammatically correct, so yes, it is possible, though really it depends on the verbs and structures at hand. In other words, 'start' can be following by an -ing form, as well as 'give'. The same is not true of all verbs, nor is it always true of these two verbs.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Can a gerund and infinitive be together in a single sentence? E.g., " it's disheartening to see him suffer like that" or "To see him suffer like that is disheartening."

Hello Timmosky,

Yes, there is no problem at all with that. Both of your example sentences are correct, though note that it is much more common to use a gerund in subject position than an infinitive, especially in informal contexts -- so the second would more often be expressed as 'Seeing him suffer like that is disheartening' (or as it is in your first sentence).

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello guys, i have two questions as regards gerunds and infinitives: "he starts to cry" and he starts crying."
1. what's the difference between the two.
2. If they are indeed the same and both correct grammatically, then there are some verbs that have the attribute of being followed by either infinitive or gerund.
3. Are all forms of these verbs I.e. present past and progressive usable this way....thanks again

Hello Timmosky,

In this example the forms 'to cry' and 'crying' can be used interchangeably.

There are some verbs which are followed by the -ing form and some which are followed by 'to + infinitive'. There are also, however, some verbs which can be followed by either form and with these there is sometimes a change in meaning. The most common are as follows:



with verbing: it’s in your memory

e.g.  I remember traveling to Italy in 1998.

with to verb: your memory worked, or not

e.g. I forgot to go to the shop – sorry!


go on

with verbing: continue

e.g.  He went on talking and wouldn’t stop!

with to verb: do something new

e.g. He went on to have great success academically.



with verbing: something in your past

e.g.  I’ve always regretted not helping him.

with to verb: official announcements

e.g. We regret to have to tell you that…



with verbing: if there is no object

e.g.  The director allows smoking.

with to verb: if there is an object

e.g. The director forbids workers to smoke.



with verbing: the activity is not finished

e.g.  I saw him kissing her.

with verb: the action is completed

e.g. I saw her kiss him goodnight.



with verbing: it’s an experiment

e.g.  I’m going to try making lasagne.

with to verb: you want to do something

e.g. I’m trying to learn when to use gerunds!



with verbing: it will involve this

e.g.  I will mean working very hard.

with to verb: it’s what you intend

e.g. I mean to make a good impression.



with verbing: for subjects or lessons

e.g.  I learned typing at college.

with to verb: for the result (success, failure)

e.g. I learned to drive when I was 17.



with verbing: ended an activity

e.g.  I stopped smoking last year.

with to verb: in order to

e.g. I stopped to answer the phone.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Can't we have objects with the ing forms? For example I love having people over for dinner is gramatically correct and it has an object

Hello Timmosky,

Yes, 'love' can be followed by verbs in both the -ing and to + infinitive forms.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I have two questions
1. He said (that) people can't read well. Can "that" be omitted here?
2. Can present and past progressive verb preceed Infinitives in a sentence. E.g., "he is trying to annoy me." or while I was walking to meet him, I fell."

Hello Timmosky,

Yes, most of the time, 'that' can be omitted after a verb of attribution (i.e. one that reports what people say or think) such as 'say'. If omitting it could cause confusion, then it's generally included, especially in writing, but in speech it's especially common to elide it.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any case in which there is a restriction on verb tenses before an infinitive of purpose.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team