Home » Grammar » Gerunds and infinitives 1: stop, try, remember, need

Gerunds and infinitives both possible

Generally, verbs are followed by either a gerund (doing) or an infinitive (to do), and that’s it.

e.g. to want to do something

e.g. to avoid doing something

You can’t say:

*to want doing something

to avoid to do something.

However, there are a few verbs where both options are possible – the verb can be followed by a gerund or an infinitive.

These verbs include: stop, try, remember, forget, need, mean, regret, like, hate, go on.

With these verbs, the meaning or grammar of the verb changes depending on whether you use a gerund or an infinitive. These are common verbs, and it’s important to learn them to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications.

In this exercise, we’ll begin by looking at the verbs stop, try, remember and need.

Here are the verbs with explanations of the different meanings, along with example listening exercises. Good luck!

Stop doing vs stop to do

Listen to these two micro-listenings. One uses stop + gerund, and the other uses stop + infinitive. Can you understand the difference in meaning?

, .
.

If you stop doing something, then you are doing something and then you stop it.

e.g. I stopped working after several hours.

If you stop to do something, then you stop whatever you are doing in order to do something else. This structure communicates the reason for stopping.

e.g. After working for a few hours, I stopped to make some lunch.

The basic meaning of the verb stop is the same in both sentences, but there is a difference in sequence. With stop doing, first you do something and then you stop. With stop to do, first you stop, and then you do something.

Try doing vs try to do

Remember doing vs remember to do

Need doing vs need to do

Keep an eye out for a follow-up post on more verbs like this. Until then, feel free to ask if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help.

Chris


Photo by Taylor Franz on Unsplash

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