• Verbs that are always followed by the infinitive: Some verbs can take another verb as the complement instead of a noun. Sometimes the verb functioning as the complement must be in the infinitive (to + verb) and sometimes it must be in the gerund (verb + ing) form. The following verbs are always followed by the infinitive if the complement is a verb.
John expects to begin studying law next semester.
Mary learned to swim when she was very young.
The budget committee decided to postpone this meeting.
The president will attempt to reduce inflation in the next four years.
The soldiers are preparing to attack the village.
Cynthia has agreed to act as a liaison between the two countries.
• Verbs that are always followed by the gerund: Other verbs must always be followed by the gerund. These verbs include:
John admitted stealing the jewels.
We enjoyed seeing them again after so many years.
You shouldn't risk entering that building in its present condition.
Michael was considering buying a new car until the prices went up.
The Coast Guard has reported seeing another ship in the Florida Straits.
Would you mind not smoking in this office?
Note: These sentences arc made negative by adding the negative particle not before the infinitive or gerund.
John decided not to buy the car.
We regretted not going to the party last night.
The following verbs can be followed by either the infinitive or the gerund with no change in meaning.
He started to study after dinner. = He started studying after dinner.
Joan hates to rule her bicycle to school =Joan hates riding her bicycle to school.
• Verbs + prepositions followed by the gerund: If a verb + preposition, adjective + preposition, noun + preposition, or preposition alone is followed directly by a verb, the verb will always be in the gerund form. The following list consists of verbs + prepositions.
be better off
The following expressions contain the preposition to. The word to in these expressions must not be confused with the to in the infinitive. These verb + preposition expressions must also be followed by the gerund.
look forward to
John gave up smoking because of his doctor's advice.
Mary insisted on taking the bus instead of the plane.
Fred confessed to stealing the jewels.
We are not looking forward to going back to school.
Henry is thinking of going to France in August.
You would be better off leaving now instead of tomorrow.
· Adjectives + prepositions followed by the gerund: The following adjectives + prepositions are also followed by the gerund.
Mitch is afraid of getting married now.
We are accustomed to sleeping late on weekends.
Jean is not capable of understanding the predicament.
Alvaro is intent on finishing school next year.
Craig is fond of dancing.
We are interested in seeing this film.
• Nouns + prepositions, followed by the gerund: The following nouns + prepositions are also followed by the gerund.
George has no excuse for dropping out of school.
There is a possibility of acquiring this property at a good price.
There is no reason for leaving this early.
Connie has developed a method for evaluating this problem.
Any time a preposition is followed directly by a verb, the verb will be in the gerund form.
After leaving the party, Ali drove home.
He should have stayed in New York instead of moving to Maine.
• Adjectives followed by the infinitive: The following adjectives are always followed by the infinitive form of the verb and never by the gerund.
*Able means the same as capable in many instances, but the grammar is very different. While able is followed by the infinitive, capable is followed by of+ [verb + ing].
These students are not yet able to handle such difficult problems.
These students are not yet capable of handling such difficult problems.
Examples of adjectives followed by infinitives:
Mohammad is anxious to see his family.
It is dangerous to drive in this weather
We are ready to leave now.
It is difficult to pass this test.
It is uncommon to find such good crops in this section of the country.
Ritsuko was pleased to be admitted to the college.
Some verbs can be followed by either the infinitive or the gerund, but the meaning changes.
John stopped studying. (John is not going to study anymore.)
John stopped to study (John stopped doing something in order to study.)