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

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Hello HieuNT,

It may be possible in some dialects or variants of English but to me as a British English native speaker the -ing form does not sound correct. I would use 'to infinitive' in all contexts.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! I am a Native American speaker who stumbled on this while preparing lessons. I agree that the above example don't sound correct. However, it would be normal for an American to say, "I don't intend on seeing him again" and "We didn't intend on having any children. So if we use the gerund instead of the infinite we add a preposition.

Submitted by neha8626 on Wed, 02/02/2022 - 12:30


Hi, It'll be great help if you could help me with these two (causitive)sentences below:
* He'll have you doing his house chores.
Can I use "do" instead of doing ?
*I'll be happy to have you come with me.
Is it correct?if yes,does it give any sense of forcing that person (you)?

Hello neha8626,

In the first sentence, yes, you can say 'do' instead of 'doing', though it would change the meaning slightly. In fact, 'do' is the form to use in general; if you say 'doing', it has a more specific meaning. What exactly that specific meaning is depends on the context, but, for example, it could be that it refers to the person doing the chores regularly in that situation.

The second sentence is also correct, but I wouldn't call it a causative. As you seem to guess, it doesn't imply that you're forcing the person to come. Instead, 'have' means something more like 'experience' -- something like 'I'll be happy to have the experience of you coming with me'. Most of the time, people will just say 'I'll be happy for you to come with me' (or 'if you come with me'), but it's also fine to say it with 'have' as you suggest.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your reply! I was recently learning the uses of causative verbs have and get, using the help of Cambridge dictionary.Here's what I found, which is quite confusing for me.
* The film soon had us crying.
*Gus will have it working in no time.
*I'll have somone collect it for you.
Could you please help me understand when to use V1 and V1+ing with have?

Hello neha8626,

As I mentioned in my last comment, it's quite difficult to explain this difference without a context. But in general the V1+ing form expresses the idea that the action is ongoing or temporary instead of completed.

The first sentence thus suggests that there were many moments in the film that caused the people to cry.

The second sentence is a bit different to my eyes, as in this context, 'working' is an adjective rather than a noun ( -- it means that the machine operates correctly.

The action of collecting something doesn't usually suggest the idea of a temporary or ongoing action and so unless there was a very specific context where it would make sense, a V+ing form would be odd here.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
Thanks for your kind reply.You explained it very well to clear all my doubts.

Submitted by sara123_123 on Thu, 09/12/2021 - 06:41


Hello Sir,

Could you please explain which one of the following sentences is correct and also mention the reasoning behind it .
Try watching video with subtitles.
Try to watch video with subtitles.

Hello sara123_123,

We use [try + verb-ing] when we are experimenting to see if something is helpful or not.

We use [try + to verb] when we are not sure if the action will succeed or not.

For example:
1) It was very hot in the room. I tried opening the window but it didn't help.
> In this example, the goal is to cool the room; opening the window is a method we try to achieve this.

2) The house was very old. I tried to open the window but the lock was rusted and I couldn't.
> In this example opening the window is the goal.

The LearnEnglish Team