You are here

Verbs followed by the '-ing' form

Level: beginner

Common verbs followed by the -ing form are:

  • verbs of liking and disliking:

detest dislike enjoy fancy hate like love

I love swimming but I hate jogging.
They always enjoyed visiting their friends.

  • phrases with mind:

wouldn't mind (= would like)
don't mind (= I am willing to)
would you mind (= will you please …?)

I wouldn't mind having some fish and chips.
I don't mind waiting for a few minutes.
Would you mind holding this for me?

  • verbs of saying and thinking:

admit consider deny imagine remember suggest

Our leader suggested waiting until the storm was over.
Everyone denied seeing the accident.

  • others:

avoid begin finish keep miss practise risk start stop

I haven't finished writing this letter.
Let's practise speaking English.

Verb + -ing form 1


Verb + -ing form 2


verb + noun + -ing form

Some verbs are followed by a noun and the -ing form:

  • verbs of the senses
see hear listen to smell watch etc.

We saw everybody running away.
I could hear someone singing.

  • others:
catch find imagine leave prevent stop

I caught someone trying to break in to my house.
We couldn’t prevent them getting away.

Verb + noun + -ing form 1


Verb + noun + -ing form 2


Infinitive or -ing form?


Many of the verbs above are sometimes followed by a passive form of -ing (being + past participle):

I don't like being interrupted.
Our dog loves being stroked under the chin.


My question isn't 100% related to the topic of this section but I haven't found a more appropriate section to ask it. I came across a few sentences with the following structure: Noun/adjective + to + gerund. Here are some examples:
1. California is on its way to developing robust laws governing the sale of cannabis and cannabis products.
2. The primary obstacle to obtaining CBD from mature cannabis stalks is that it is illegal under Federal law to grow cannabis.
3. I’ve put together a list of materials that I think are vital to understanding the law on hemp-derived CBD.
4. Asking questions is the first step to ensuring the products you are receiving are legal.
I scoured the internet to find some grammar explanation regarding this structure but haven't found something useful. Can you please clarify this grammatical structure and when it should be used?

Many thanks!

Hi Or Yahalom,

In all of these cases, 'to' is followed by a noun phrase. For example, you can be 'on your way to failure', there can be an 'obstacle to success', an action can be 'vital to good health', etc. When we want a verb form to follow a preposition (like 'to'), we use the gerund form of the verb. This is why there are gerunds after all of these phrases.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi again Or,

Yes, I would recommend trying to remember when 'to' is a preposition and when it is part of the infinitive, as of course the verb form that comes after will be different in each case -- a gerund in the first, and an infinitive in the second.

When my students ask me whether they should study lists such as these, I encourage them to try learning one and then to observe whether it seems to help them remember the adjectives and their complements (i.e. the prepositions that follow them). Some people learn them well this way, but others don't so much. I'd encourage you to conduct the same experiment.

There is a short list of adjectives and prepositions on our Adjectives & Prepositions page and I found another page that has a longer list in the Free Dictionary. I'm sure you can find others if you do an internet search.

Hope this helps you!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Can i use-ing clauses after vanish when used as a noun
Example:as the vanishing of reading was only getting worse we had to do something


Yes, that is grammatically correct. Whether it is the best way to express the idea is a different question, of course. Vanish suggests something disappearing suddenly and without warning, which does not seem likely with reading skills, which might be more likely to deteriorate or fade over time.



The LearnEnglish Team

If I invite somebody to a cafe (I am going to pay for them) can I say
*I offer to go and have dinner*?

Hello Goncharush,

I'm afraid that wouldn't be natural or correct in standard American or British English; if I didn't know what you meant, I would probably understand that to mean something like 'I will go and have dinner with you'.

We don't use 'invite' with this meaning in English. One common way to communicate this idea is to use the verb or noun 'treat': 'I'd like to treat you to dinner' or 'Dinner is my treat'. It's also common to say 'Dinner's on me' (to mean you will pay for it) in an informal context.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Learn English team,
Is the second sentence correct?
1. She can't afford to buy expensive clothes.
2. She can't afford buying expensive clothes.
And if it is, is there any difference in the meaning of the sentences?

Hi Goncharush,

No, I'm afraid the second sentence is not correct. 'afford' is typically followed either by a noun phrase or a to + infinitive (not an -ing form). If you follow the link, you can see several examples of each.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello The LearnEnglish Team,
Could you help me, please? Is it somehow possible to use a gerund after "try" in the following sentence: I would never try...
Is it OK to say "I would never try jumping out of a helicopter" instead of "I would never try to jump out of a helicopter"? Thanks a lot for your help. I need your help badly.