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Verbs followed by both gerunds and infinitives

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I've seen many students struggling with structures where they have to use a gerund or an infinitive. Usually the best advice that a teacher can give is to learn as many structures as possible as certain verbs are followed by a gerund and others by an infinitive and there is no explanation as to why this happens.

What seems to be even more problematic is the verbs which can take both a gerund and a full infinitive, but have a totally or slightly different meaning. In this article, we are going to show some of those verbs as well as the different meanings they have when used with a gerund and a full infinitive.

 remember doing something vs remember to do something

- remember doing something can be associated to the concept of memories. It refers to something that has already happened and the speaker has brought this back to his mind.
Do you remember going to the Bahamas? We had such a great time! It was my favourite holiday! (concept of memory)

dreaming-of-vacation

- remember to do something means that there is something you need to do and it's best not to forget it. Imagine, for example, that you are about to go out. What kind of things do you need to do? Turn off the lights? Take the trash out? Lock the door? You need to remember to do all these before going out.
I remembered to bring with me the photographs you wanted. So here they are! This one is with you and Tim.

friendly-reminder

forget doing something vs forget to do something 

- forget doing something is very similar to remember doing something. Only this time, it means that a person has done something in the past but has forgotten all about it and is not able to bring it back to his mind.
Of course I forgot visiting London for the first time. I was only 3 years old! (concept of memory. I visited London when I was 3, but don't remember much from that trip)

- forget to do something. Once again this is very similar to remember to do something, but now it's bad news! If you forgot to lock your door today, you may want to go back there and check that everything is in place.
I forgot to bring you the photographs you wanted. I'm sorry. I'll bring them over next time.

stop doing something vs stop to do something 

- stop doing something means that you stop an action completely and you don't continue with it.
I stopped smoking a month ago and I feel much healthier now.

fullstop

- stop to do something means that you stop an action for a little while to do something else and then you continue with what you were previously doing.
How is it going with your essay? Do you want to stop to get some lunch and finish it up later?

take-a-break

quit doing something vs quit to do something 

-quit doing something means that you stop something completely. The meaning is exactly the same with stop doing something.
After long efforts, she finally managed to quit smoking for good.

-quit to do something means that you stop something you were doing in order to do/start something else. Here the meaning is not the same as in stop to do something. This is because the meaning of the verb quit is that you stop something for good anyway. 
She quit (her previous job) to work here.

go on doing something vs go on to do something 

show-must-go-on

- go on doing something means that you’ve been doing something for a long time; continuously without stopping.
Sophia went on talking about her new boyfriend for ages. It was so annoying.

-go on to do something refers to a situation in which you finish an action and then you move on to a new one.
Sophia finished telling us about her trip to Wales and went on to talk to us about her new boyfriend.

need doing something vs need to do something

- need doing something is a structure with a passive meaning. This means that the subject of the verb need is not the one doing the action, but the one "receiving" it.
The baby needs feeding. (Someone will feed the baby)

feeding-the-baby

 

-need to do something on the other hand has an active meaning. Therefore the subject of the verb will perform the action of the infinitive.
I need to feed the baby. (I will feed the baby in this case)

I hope you've found this article useful! Gerunds and Infinitives can be hard to understand, but with some practice you can certainly get the hand of it! 

If you have any thoughts or comments please share them below. Feel free to provide your own example sentences with gerunds and infinitives.