Most Common Mistakes 2 The infinitive

A gerund is a verb ending in ‘ing

The infinitive of a verb is when there is a ‘to’ before the verb, e.g. to walk

Usually, the main verb determines whether you use the gerund or infinitive form, but sometimes they are interchangeable, ‘I like to walk’/’I like walking’ mean the same thing.

‘Enjoy’, for example, requires the gerund form, e.g. ‘I enjoy walking’

Verbs that are usually followed by an infinitive verb

agree, aim, appear, arrange, attempt, be able, be likely, claim, decide, deserve, fail, hope, learn, manage, offer, plan, promise, refuse, seem, tend, try

I love to walk slowly

They were likely to buy more

Verbs that go before the infinitive need to be made clear with the second verb,

e.g. ‘I want…’

What do you want?

I want to eat candy

Some verbs need to be followed by an object before the infinitive


advise, allow, encourage, force, persuade, remind, teach, tell, warn

e.g. ‘I advise you to walk slowly

‘She warned him about the dangerous trip’.


Some verbs are followed by ‘to-initiative’ or ‘-ing’ and the meaning is virtually the same

attempt, begin, bother, continue, hate, like, love, prefer, start


e.g. ‘I attempted to run a mile’

‘I was attempting to run a mile’




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