Oliver, Daisy and Alfie are at Oliver and Daisy's home. Oliver is upset, so Daisy and Alfie decide to cheer him up.

After certain verbs we use the -ing form, and after other verbs we use the infinitive. Sometimes we can use either form and there is no change in meaning. Occasionally we can use either form and there is a change in meaning.

So what’s the rule for whether we use the -ing form or the infinitive?

Sorry, there isn’t a rule. You have to learn which verbs go with which pattern.

The verbs followed by  -ing include enjoy, mind, stop and recommend.

I told him you really enjoy cooking.
Would you mind helping me?
It didn't stop raining all day yesterday.
Daisy recommends trying Alfie’s tiramisu.

The negative is verb + not + -ing.

Imagine not having pizza! I eat it all the time.

Verbs usually followed by -ing

stop     finish     imagine     suggest     recommend      avoid      mind      miss      risk      enjoy 

I thought you could say: 'I recommend that you see that film'?

Yes, you’re right, you can. But we’re not looking at the more complex patterns with that or an object today.

OK, what about the verbs followed by the infinitive?

These include decide, want, promise, plan and forget.

She decided to go with Elliot instead.
I wanted to visit Rome.
She promised to take me there.
I planned to go to some real Italian restaurants.
She didn’t forget to phone.

The negative is verb + not + infinitive.

They decided not to make pizza.

Here are more verbs that are usually followed by the infinitive:

hope     offer     fail     agree     forget     manage     learn     afford     arrange     ask     expect     would like     decide     plan     promise     want     invite

What about the verbs that can be followed by either form?

These include start, begin, continue and bother.

It started raining. or  It started to rain.
Don’t bother waiting for me. 
or  Don’t bother to wait for me.

The verbs like, love and hate can be followed by -ing or the infinitive when talking about repeated actions.

I love reading long novels.   (British English or American English) 
I love to read long novels.    (American English)

But when we are talking about situations, we use the -ing form.

Paulo loves living by the beach in Rio.
Do you like working as a waitress?

So, 'I love learning grammar rules' or 'I love to learn grammar rules' are both OK?

Exactly. But there are some more verbs which can be followed by -ing or the infinitive, but the two options have different meanings, for example remember and stop.

I never remember to lock the door, and my mum gets really angry!
     (remember + infinitive =
remember something and then do it)
I never remember locking the door, but when I go back and check I always have.
     (remember + -ing =
remember something you did before)

She stopped smoking three years ago.
     (stop + -ing =
to not do something any more)
It was hot, so we stopped to have a drink.   (we stopped walking)
     (stop + infinitive =
to not do something in order to do something else)

Let’s stop to have a rest now.

OK, later on you can try to remember all the patterns.


Language level: 


Think about your week. What do you enjoy doing? What do you not mind doing? And what do you avoid doing if possible?


pparedes984's picture
pparedes984 3 January, 2017 - 02:41

In my week I enjoy spend the time with my friends and my girlfriend and I enjoy the thursday beacuse I have too many hours free along the day. I avoid to do homework every day so I do it in the class before the hour. I don't mind if i have to go to my basketball practice because i like it and distract me for all the things I enjoy too very much to go to my training

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VShirleyCh's picture
VShirleyCh 2 January, 2017 - 03:54

I like watched movies and cooked the mexican food because is very delicious also do desserts I not mind go to a party or between week go to the mall or cinema. and i avoid doing strange food for not washing the dishes. also i avoid arrive late for classes in the morning because i have to go by taxi which is another of the things i avoid also I avoid go to in ecovia, trole and metro.

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tai's picture
tai 7 April, 2016 - 18:29

I have a sentence that can be writen in three cases bellow:
“workers tending the queen not only feed her but also…”
“workers who tend the queen not only feed her but also…”
“workers tend the queen not only.........
I am confuse to use the first one, I do not know the rule to use it. Is it true that we can alway change from the second sentence to the first one with just transform verb into verb-ing? Hope someone can help me

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
Jo - Coordinator 8 April, 2016 - 08:27

Hi tai,
Yes, that's right. Your first and second phrases have the same meaning in this context. For example:
    Customers who wish to exchange products should go to the first floor.
= Customers wishing to exchange products should go to the first floor.

Your third sentence may not be correct. It depends how you continue the sentence.
Best wishes, Joanna (LearnEnglish Teens team)

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Pelin's picture
Pelin 5 January, 2016 - 13:00

I love watching TV.and going to cinema. I also love reading books. but I don' like the other things

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Dalmar's picture
Dalmar 26 December, 2015 - 20:01

I enjoy dating with beautiful grils and have fun but I hate grils who get jealous easly. :)
Sometimes I hear my friends saying : you are going to be mad for grils but don't care what they whispering behind me. I enjoy to see my friends laughing because we use to joke all time.
I'm only trying to practise in my english that why I wrote a little joy.
Thanks , (LearnEnglish Teens)

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efty's picture
efty 30 December, 2014 - 13:16

we know that, the meaning of gerund(verb +ing) and infinitive(to+verb) are under the segment of noun.but they are kind of non-finite verbs.then,,what parts of speech they are?

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
Jo - Coordinator 30 December, 2014 - 18:54

Hi efty! Quite right, gerunds and infinitives can work like nouns. For example:

Watching films at home is cheaper than going to the cinema.
Playing the violin is difficult.
To play football professionally is her dream.

We call these nonfinite verbs because they don't have a tense. Some grammar references also say they are nouns, because they name activities. So both of your suggestions are correct! :)

Not all -ing verbs are gerunds, though. In these examples, they are present participles:

I am working.
He was running.

Best wishes,
Joanna (LearnEnglish Teens team)

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
Jo - Coordinator 3 January, 2015 - 10:10

Hi efty, 
We call them verbs, normally. But it's really useful to know that you can use a gerund in exactly the same way as a noun.

I like chocolate. (=noun)
I like skiing. (=gerund)

Hope that helps!

(LearnEnglish Teens team)


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sam10's picture
sam10 4 July, 2015 - 17:01

Hi Jo, I am new here.I need your help. "I am sorry to disturb you",here "to disturb" used whether as an adjective or adverb?

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
Jo - Coordinator 6 July, 2015 - 13:56

Hi sam10, In your example, 'disturb' is an action, so it is a verb. Here are some more examples with the verb 'disturb':
Am I disturbing you?
We didn't want to disturb the neighbours.
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to disturb you.
Does that answer your question? Best wishes, Joanna (LearnEnglish Teens team)

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PestR's picture
PestR 8 November, 2014 - 14:16

Hi LearnEnglish Team,
Is it correct to say, "I'm inviting you FOR dinner" or should it be, "I'm inviting you TO dinner"? Please help me.
Thanks, Pest

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
Jo - Coordinator 11 November, 2014 - 08:52

Hi PestR,
You can say both of those. They are both correct.
Unfortunately, we can't always answer individual user's grammar questions immediately. We do our best, but sometimes we're just too busy! Can I recommend www.linguee.com? On this website you can search for a word or phrase and see many examples of how it was translated in different contexts. I find it's better than other translation tools because you can which option really makes sense for what you want to say.
Why don't you try it and come back and tell us what you think? :)
Best wishes,
Joanna (LearnEnglish Teens team)

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
Jo - Coordinator 7 November, 2014 - 09:16

Hi Monisa! Thanks for your question.

One thing to notice about a couple of verbs on this list - 'recommend' and 'suggest' - is how they work with 'that'. For example, you can say:

Clara's teacher recommends applying for university this year. (General recommendation)
Clara's teacher recommends that she apply for university this year. (Recommendation specifically for Clara)

Notice that it is 'apply' not 'applies' in the second sentence. This is an example of the subjunctive in English. We use this with verbs like insist, demand, recommend, suggest to talk about a situation which is recommended, desirable or demanded. For example:

The headteacher demands that he leave the school at once.
I strongly suggest that you forget all about this episode.

Well, I hope that answers your question! 

Best wishes,

Joanna (LearnEnglish Teens)


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Monisa's picture
Monisa 8 November, 2014 - 06:15

Thank you very much! That was, indeed, helpful. just another doubt: can these verbs be followed both by an infnitive and an -ing?
Thank you,

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
Jo - Coordinator 8 November, 2014 - 12:18

Glad to hear it was useful! :) In answer to your second question, no - 'suggest' and 'recommend' are both followed by the gerund and can't be followed by the infinitive.


(LearnEnglish Teens team)

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dzeni's picture
dzeni 11 March, 2014 - 19:50

I enjoy hanging out with my friends, playing some sport with them or riding roler blades. I also like listening to music, reading books, painting. I watch TV and surf on the internet when I am boring.

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