Verbs followed by '-ing' or infinitive to change meaning

Verbs followed by '-ing' or infinitive to change meaning

Do you know the difference between stop doing something and stop to do something? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how these verb patterns work.

The bus stopped picking up the children.
The bus stopped to pick up the children. 

I want to try studying with a friend to see if it helps us stay more motivated.
I'm trying to study but it's impossible with all this noise.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Verbs followed by '-ing' or by 'to' + infinitive 2: Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Some verbs have a different meaning depending on whether they are followed by an -ing form or to + infinitive. 


Stop + -ing means the action is not happening any more.

I've stopped buying the newspaper because now I read the news online.

Stopto + infinitive means that someone or something stops an activity so that they can do something else.

He stopped the video to ask the students some questions.


Try + -ing means that you are trying something as an experiment, especially as a possible solution to a problem, to see if it works or not.

Have you tried turning the computer off and on again?

Tryto + infinitive means that something is difficult but you are making an effort to do it. 

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


Remember + -ing and forget + -ing refer to having (or not having) a memory of something in the past.

I remember watching this film before.
I'll never forget meeting you for the first time in this café.

Rememberto + infinitive and forgetto + infinitive refer to recalling (or not recalling) that there is something we need to do before we do it.

Please remember to buy some milk on the way home.
He forgot to lock the door when he went out.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Verbs followed by '-ing' or by 'to' + infinitive 2: Grammar test 2

Language level

Average: 4.2 (42 votes)
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Ok teacher, after that I am going to be careful about context.

Submitted by Afrizal Idris on Wed, 18/11/2020 - 09:18

Thankyou for the lesson

Submitted by emmanuelniyomugabo12 on Tue, 29/09/2020 - 19:54

Thanks for the lesson.
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Submitted by CHÉKYTAN on Tue, 11/08/2020 - 14:36

Hello sir, Where can I find expert level (C1- C2) lessons here on BritishCouncil website?

Hi Chekytan,

We don't have resources at C2 level at the moment, but you can find C1 resources by typing 'C1' in the search bar.

You may like to try the Skills sections, which all have resources at C1 level.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by I. Innocent RUBONEKA on Sun, 12/07/2020 - 16:02

Thank you for the interesting lessons
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Submitted by ITeon on Thu, 02/07/2020 - 09:08

Really Helpful :) I did not know this before :)

Submitted by Nehashri on Sun, 17/05/2020 - 13:42

Walking is good for health. It is said that GERUND is a verbal noun and it has the force of a VERB and a NOUN. In the above sentence WALKING acts as a noun because it is the subject of the verb IS. So, in this case it has the force of a noun, but how does it has the force of a VERB? Reading books is my hobby. In the above sentence, Reading has an object. Thus, Reading has the force of a verb. Moreover, Reading is also the subject of the sentence. Hence, it has the force of a noun as well. In such case it is easy to understand, but what if gerund has not any object and it has been alone as subject? In such case, How to teach that it has both forces i.e., a noun and a verb?

Hello Nehashri,

Gerunds behave as verbs within the clause, so they can take an object or be modified by an adverb, but the clause as a whole (which could be just the gerund or could contain more words) functions as a noun within the sentence.

In your second example, Reading books is a non-finite clause where the gerund is followed by an object (a verbal property). The non-finite clause is the subject (a nominal property) in the larger sentence.



The LearnEnglish Team