When And Where To Use Gerunds?

Gerunds after nouns

Some nouns and adjectives can be followed by preposition + -ing form. Nouns/adjectives that are followed by –ing forms cannot normally be followed by infinitives. But there are exceptions to this rule.

After some nouns and adjectives, we can use either an –ing form or an infinitive. Normally there is little or no difference of meaning. Note that if we are using an –ing form, a preposition is used to connect it to the noun/adjective.

Gerunds after prepositions

When we put a verb after a preposition, we normally use an –ing form, not an infinitive.

To as a preposition

To can be an infinitive marker (e.g. to work, to laugh). It can also be a preposition. When to is a preposition, it is followed by either a noun or the –ing form of a verb, but not normally by the infinitive. Common expressions in which this happens are look forward to, object to, used to, prefer to, get round to, in addition to.


Gerunds after verbs

After some verbs we can use an –ing form, but not normally an infinitive.



Some common verbs that are normally followed by –ing forms are:

admit appreciate avoid consider delay
deny detest dislike endure enjoy
escape excuse face fancy feel like
finish forgive give up can’t help imagine
involve mention mind miss postpone
practice put off resent resist risk
suggest understand

Some of the verbs listed above can be followed by object + -ing form.



After deserve, need and require, the –ing form has a passive sense.



Some verbs can be followed by both –ing forms and infinitives. These include:

advise allow can’t bear forbid forget
go go on hate hear intend
like love permit prefer feel like
propose regret remember see start
stop try watch