English Verbs Followed by Infinitives or Gerunds

In general, verbs in English are easier to learn than in other languages. There are, however, two important exceptions. One is, as you may have guessed, phrasal verbs. The other is the verbs followed by another verb, which may be either in the infinitive or in the gerund.

In English, in fact, these two structures happen when a verb is followed immediately by another verb. In some cases, a verb can only be followed by a gerund or with an infinitive. In other cases, it can accept both.

In this last case, two situations can occur: the verb can maintain the same meaning with both constructions or, on the contrary, a change in the construction can change the meaning.

In short, it is important to consult the dictionary when you have doubts. This is also because there is no precise rule you can apply, making it necessary to memorize the correct form for each verb. So let’s look at the most common verbs and some examples for each case.



Verbs Followed by the Infinitive


  • Afford

I can’t afford to go on holiday.

  • Agree

I don’t agree to go out in this weather.

  • Ask

I asked Mary to come with us.

  • Choose

I chose not to accept the job offer.

  • Decide

  • Expect

  • Hope

  • Learn

  • Offer

  • Prepare

  • Promise

  • Pretend

  • Want



Verbs Followed by the Gerund


  • Admit

He admitted to smoking.

  • Avoid

I avoid using the car when I can walk instead.

  • Consider

  • Dislike

  • Enjoy

I enjoy travelling.

  • Finish

  • Give up

  • Mind

  • Practice

  • Suggest



Verbs Followed by the Infinitive or the Gerund (With the Same Meaning)


  • Start

I started studying English when I was at nursery school.
I started to study English when I was at nursery school.

  • Begin

She began to cry as soon as she reached home.
She began crying as soon as she reached home.

  • Continue



Verbs Followed by the Infinitive or the Gerund (With Different Meanings)


  • Forget


Forget + gerund (to forget something from the past)

I can’t forget meeting you for the first time.


Forget + infinitive (to forget to do something)

Please don’t forget to take this letter to the post office.


  • Like


Like + gerund (to like to do something)

I like watching old films.


Like + infinitive (to prefer doing something or to believe that it is correct)

I like to wash the dishes by hand.

Warning: The conditional verb form would like can only be followed by a verb in the infinitive.


  • Remember


Remember + gerund (to remember something from the past)

I always remember visiting Vienna as a child.


Remember + infinitive (to remember that something must be done)

Please remember to pick up Mark from school.


  • Stop


Stop + gerund (clarifies what will stop happening)

Please stop making noise.


Stop + infinitive (clarifies why something or someone stops)

The bus stopped to drop off the children.


  • Try


Try + gerund (to try something as an experiment)

I have tried using honey instead of sugar.


Try + infinitive (to attempt to do something difficult)

I have tried to learn Chinese, but it is really hard.



To learn to use these verbs correctly, as is often the case with language learning, it is necessary to do practice exercises. The English course offered by ABA English has been designed to guarantee exposure to regular study that with minimum daily commitment will help you learn the necessary English for daily communication. It offers 144 free video classes based on short films inspired by real situations as well as qualified native teachers who are ready to answer your questions. What are you waiting for?

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