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Verbs followed by '-ing' or by 'to' + infinitive 1

Do you know when to use -ing and when to use to + infinitive after a verb?

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

Language level

Beginner: A1
Pre-intermediate: A2

Comments

Hello,
One question about sentences with the verb "help". The example states:
"He offered to help us wash up"
Would it be also correct: "He offered to help us TO wash up" and "He offered to help us "washing" up?
Many thanks

Hello Zub0v,

Both a bare infinitive ('wash up') and a full infinitive ('to wash up') are correct after the verb 'help'. The bare infinitive is the correct form in American English and both forms are commonly used in British English.

You could say 'to help us washing up' because 'washing up' is sometimes used as a noun phrase, but this is not true of most other verbs. For example, it would be incorrect to say 'He offered to help us taking the children to school' or anything similar with most verbs.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there please clarify the tense of them
When will you be going to Dhaka again? (Future continuous/simple future)
We are going to postpone it, till he arrives. - simple future or present continuous

Hello Samin,

'will be going' is a future continuous form. 'are going' is a present continuous form.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Team!
According to the explanation, if the verb "to like" is followed by another verb, it must be in the -ing form. But I found this sentence in one of the Online Courses : " If I have a job to do, I like to finish it. "
Why there is the to+infinitive form in this case?

Thank you
Martina

Hello Martina,

I can confirm for you that 'like' can be followed by both the '-ing' form and also an infinitive. I'm sorry that our explanation here is confusing and we'll fix that very soon. In any case, I'd recommend you have a look at our Verbs followed by the '-ing' form and Verbs followed by the infinitive pages, where you can fuller explanations of this topic.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Hi everyone
Want to ask the difference between this to themes?

TY

Hello Todarowa,

I'm afraid I don't understand your question. Could you please ask it again in a more complete form?

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

I have a question sir. I still don't understand why those verbsfollowed by other verb+ing, why we can't use without ing, ?

Hello batnyam99102211,

I'm not entirely sure what you mean here, but I think you're referring to verb patterns, which means which verbs are followed by which structures. These are patterns which need to be memorised. There is no 'why' to it; they are arbitrary structures within the language system.

 

You can read more about verb patterns of various types on this page:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar-reference/clause-structure-and-verb-patterns

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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