What’s the rule for verb + infinitive or verb + ING form?

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Take your grammar to the next level!

A student asks, “Is there a rule for choosing the infinitive or the ING form – I like reading or I like to read?”

Unfortunately the answer is NO, there’s no rule! You just need to remember it for each verb.

Some verbs that are followed by the infinitive are decide, hope, need, offer, plan, promise, and want. You decided to learn English (not “decided learning English”).

Some verbs that are followed by the -ING form are avoid, enjoy, finish, practice, don’t mind, and can’t stand. I avoid eating fast food (not “avoid to eat”).

Like and love can be followed by both:

  • I like reading. I like to read.
  • I love teaching. I love to teach.

Would like and would love can ONLY be followed by the infinitive:

  • I’d like to travel more.
  • I’d love to join you for dinner.

I highly recommend making your own example sentences with each verb from this lesson! This will help you remember the forms better.