(The verbs are arranged alphabetically. Each verb is followed by an example.)
agreeThey agreed to give him a try. appearHe appeared to know everything. arrangeI have arranged to meet him on Monday. askShe asked to see her doctor. careHe doesn't care to answer chooseWe chose to ignore it. claimHe claims to be an expert. decideShe decided not to go to the party. demandI demand to see the person in charge! deserveHe deserves to win the contest. expect He expected to be home sooner. failThey failed to follow the instructions. getIt's not fair that she gets to see him before the others. happenI happened to pass by, so we had a chat. hesitateDon't hesitate to call. hopeI hope to see you soon. intendShe didn't intend to hurt you.
know howHe knows how to to run a business. learnHe learned to speak Spanish very quickly. manageWe managed to finish everything on time. offerHe offered to go for a walk. planYou planned to meet us here. prepare We were preparing to leave when the phone rang. pretendHe pretended not to hear a word. promiseShe promised to take us with her next time. refuseI refuse to cooperate. seemIt seems to be broken. swearHe swore to revenge. tendThese plants tend to grow slowly. threaten He has threatened to hurt us.
undertakeShe undertook to design the new collection. waitThe runners were waiting to start. want I want to speak with you in private. wishI wish to change my address. would likeI would like to add something before we continue. yearnShe yearns to go free.
Some verbs can take both gerunds and infinitives, with only a slight difference in the meaning (as explained in Part Iabove).
Verbs Followed by Gerunds or Infinitives
(with a significant change in the meaning)
(The verbs are arranged alphabetically. Each verb is followed by an example.
He forgot opening the window. (Meaning: He opened the window, but he forgot doing so.)
He forgot to open the window. (Meaning: he was supposed to open the window, but he forgot.) regret
She regrets quitting her job. (She quited her job, and now she regrets it.)
She regrets to quit her job. (She is sorry to quit her job.) stop
He stopped chatting. (He was chatting, and then he stopped.)
He stopped to chat. (He was doing something else, and then he stop in order to chat.) remember
I remembered locking the storage. (I had a memory in my mind of locking the storage.)
I remembered to lock the storage. (I locked the storage as I should have.)
They tried moving to Australia. (They moved to Australia for some time to see if it works out for them.)
They tried to move to Australia. (They made an attempt to move to Australia, but it wasn't successful. They didn't move to Australia after all.)
So when you need to decide which one to use, first check whether the main verb is limited only to gerunds, or only to infinitives.
If the verb is not on any of the lists, you can use the following guidelines:
The word "go" + sports or recreational activities usually take a gerund. Examples: "Let's go shopping", "They went skiing".
After a preposition you should use a gerund. Examples: "I will talk with you before going to lunch" "I am looking forward to working with you".
Expressions with the words "have", "spend" and "waste" take a gerund. Examples: "She had fun skiing", "He wasted all his time worrying".
In many cases, the infinitive form is used to show the intention or purpose. Examples: "We are here to help", "He left to catch the train".
The infinitive form is also used to show the reason. Examples: "we were sad to hear about your difficulties", "She was shocked to learn the truth".
If neither of these guidelines applies, simply use the principle in Part I above. Does it describe a concrete action? Then use a gerund. Does it describe a general or potential action? Then use an infinitive. Examples: "As a painter, I truly love painting", "I love to paint. I wish I would paint more often".
Anyhow, whenever you are in doubt, you can always use a dictionary to help you out!Oxford Advanced Learner's dictionary is a really good one to use. It shows you whether the verb requires a gerund, and infinitive, or can take both. Just look at the data bellow the definition.