Verbs followed by '-ing' or infinitive

Do you know when to use -ing and when to use to + infinitive after a verb? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how the verb forms are used.

I enjoy learning languages.
I want to learn a new language.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

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

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

A verb can be followed by another verb. The second one usually needs to change into the -ing form or the to + infinitive form. Which form you need depends on what the first verb is.

Verbs followed by the -ing form

When enjoy, admit and mind are followed by another verb, it must be in the -ing form.

I enjoy travelling.
He admitted stealing the necklace.
I don't mind waiting if you're busy.

Other verbs in this group include avoid, can't help, consider, dislike, feel like, finish, give up, miss, practise and suggest.

Like and love can be followed by the -ing form and the to + infinitive form. They are both correct.

Verbs followed by to + infinitive form

When want, learn and offer are followed by another verb, it must be in the to + infinitive form.

I want to speak to the manager.
She's learning to play the piano.
He offered to help us wash up.

Other verbs in this group include afford, agree, ask, choose, decide, expect, hope, plan, prepare, promise, refuse and would like.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

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

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Hello Aligibaito

We're glad you found the explanation helpful!

The tense of the verb doesn't change the verb after it. For example, whether you 'I'm planning', 'I planned' or 'I had planned', you can always say 'to travel to London' after it. The same is true with 'to prepare', though please note that it needs to be followed by a verb -- instead of 'I prepared to the exam', you should say something like 'I prepared to take the exam'.

Does that make sense?

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Alberto Miglietta on Fri, 13/03/2020 - 18:40

Thank you. Well done!

Submitted by Thiru06 on Sat, 29/02/2020 - 02:51

Thank you, that really helps! For years I'm using these grammers without knowing which one to use at which place. Now it got sorted.

Submitted by Engy_a on Wed, 26/02/2020 - 09:04

thank you its helpful

Submitted by Tun Yee on Tue, 25/02/2020 - 11:50

I make a note all with thanks

Submitted by AhilKannan on Tue, 04/02/2020 - 03:11

Thank you. It is really helpful and exciting.