Gerunds after verbs
After some verbs we can use an -ing form, but not normally an infinitive.
- I have finished packing. (NOT I have finished to pack.)
- I enjoy reading. (NOT I enjoy to read.)
- You must give up smoking. (NOT ... to smoke.)
- The doctor suggested taking a long holiday. (NOT ... suggested me to take...)
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.
- I dislike people telling me what to do.
- I can't imagine him working in an office.
- Nobody can stop him (from) doing what he wants to.
After deserve, need and require, the -ing form has a passive sense.
- The car requires servicing. (= needs to be serviced.)
- You hair needs cutting. (= needs to be cut.)
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
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.
- I look forward to his next visit. (noun)
- I look forward to hearing from you. (NOT I look
forward to hear from you.)
- I prefer the country to the city. (noun)
- I prefer swimming to walking.
- I am used to waiting for buses. (NOT I am used to
wait for buses.)
- They objected to our entering the room.
- I object to working on Sundays.
Sections in this article
Exclamations: common errors
Common mistakes with pronouns - Part 2
Common errors with adjectives - part 1
Common errors with adjectives - part 2