Verbs + Infinitive or -ING

Verbs + Infinitive

Here are some common verbs in English that are followed by the infinitive:

  • decide
    She decided to study biology, not physics.
  • help
    Can you help me to carry these boxes?
    It’s very common to remove the word “to”:
    Can you help me carry these boxes?
  • hope
    We hope to hear from you soon.
    I hope it doesn’t rain this weekend.
  • learn
    She’s learning to swim.
    It’s very common to add the word “how” if you are learning a new skill:
    I’m learning how to cook.
  • need
    I need to go to the supermarket. We don’t have any eggs.
  • offer
    My friend offered to take me to the airport.
  • plan
    We’re planning to have a big party when our son graduates from college.
  • pretend
    He pretended to be sick so that he didn’t have to take the test.
  • promise
    He promised to call me back as soon as possible.
  • try
    I’m trying to read this book, but it’s too difficult.
  • want
    I want to learn English so that I can study in the U.S.
  • would like
    I’d like to travel to France someday.

Special Case #1: REMEMBER / FORGET

We use remember + infinitive and forget + infinitive to talk about the future, to give a reminder:

  • Remember to bring your dictionary tomorrow!
  • Don’t forget to pay the rent next week.

Verbs + -ING

Here are some common verbs in English that are followed by -ing.

  • avoid
    You should avoid eating after 10 PM.
  • enjoy
    I enjoy skiing, surfing, and playing tennis.
  • finish
    Have you finished reading the newspaper yet?
  • can’t stand
    I can’t stand going to parties where I don’t know anyone.
  • don’t mind
    I don’t mind working overtime.
  • look forward to
    I look forward to seeing you next week.
  • practice
    I need to practice speaking English more often.
  • spend (time)
    My roommate spends hours watching TV.
  • stop
    He stopped smoking ten years ago.
  • suggest
    I suggest taking some time off.

Special Case #1: REMEMBER / FORGET

We use remember + -ing and forget + -ing to talk about the past, to talk about a memory:

  • I remember having dinner with my grandparents every Sunday when I was a child.
  • I’ll never forget eating lobster for the first time – it was delicious!

Special Case #2: START / LIKE / LOVE / HATE

Start, like, love, and hate can be used with the infinitive or -ing.
Both are correct!

    • The baby started to cry.
      = The baby started crying.
    • I like to run.
      = I like running.
    • I hate doing laundry. (this form is probably more common)
      = I hate to do laundry.
    • We love reading.
      = We love to read.


Verbs + Infinitive or -ING Quiz

Choose the correct form (infinitive or -ING form) for each sentence. Good luck!
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