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.


Total votes: 469
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?


MythTW's picture
MythTW 21 July, 2019 - 11:17

Hello LearnEnglish Team,

The following 2 sentences

All we can do is trying our best.
All we can do is try our best.

Which one is correct? Or both are correct but carry different meanings?

Thanks, James

1 user has voted.
Tina - Coordinator's picture
Tina - Coordinator 22 July, 2019 - 10:34

Hi James (MythTw)
Your second sentence is correct.
- All we can do is try our best.
Best wishes,
Tina (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

1 user has voted.
helloman's picture
helloman 14 May, 2019 - 16:22

Which one is correct?
He left the room without .....
1. explaining
2. explanation
Plz help us.

1 user has voted.
JoModerator's picture
JoModerator 15 May, 2019 - 08:25

Hi helloman,

They are both correct!

Sentence 1 has a preposition (without) followed by verb+ing.

Sentence 2 has a preposition (without) followed by a noun.

I hope that helps.


Best wishes

Jo (LearnEnglish Teens team)


1 user has voted.
smiley_jp's picture
smiley_jp 5 April, 2019 - 03:39

Which one is correct?
1) Where did you learn to speak Japanese? or Where did you learn speaking Japanese?
2) She waited to see what would happen next. or She waited seeing what would happened next.

0 users have voted.
editor_rachael's picture
editor_rachael 5 April, 2019 - 13:26

Hi smiley_jp,


In both cases, the first option is correct. The verbs learn and wait are both usually followed by the infinitive.


Hope that helps!


LearnEnglish Teens team

1 user has voted.
Youjiro's picture
Youjiro 1 February, 2019 - 13:19

I enjoy reading book and listening music after high school .I do lot of homework after class.
In morning I do household such as cooking,clean up room.I cook Chinese food because it is delicious .I avoid watching TV program.I thing watching TV is waste of time.I also avoid go out side during holiday.I don't like place where many people gather .

0 users have voted.
empty's picture
empty 8 August, 2019 - 08:45

Hi Youjiro !
You are so hardworking and I really appreciate it ! I also agree with you about TV being a waste of the time.

0 users have voted.
TooPin's picture
TooPin 27 November, 2017 - 10:37

I love playing soccer, so I always play it with my friends . I often go out with my friends and we have some drink. we also want to keep been in touch.

15 users have voted.
saradera's picture
saradera 7 October, 2017 - 17:49

I enjoy reading book and listing to music .
I don't mind doing my homework it's like apart of my day
and i aviod connecting too much

25 users have voted.
mydream2k2's picture
mydream2k2 27 September, 2017 - 15:43

First, I love free times at the weekend : not homework, not boring teaching but it's not meaning I don't like studying. I would rather study by myself than study at school because I can find many interesting lessons in the internet, practise what I learned by playing game, and take a rest whenever I feel stress. Of course, the things I want to avoid is framework's school education, it depresses on me. Second, I also like watching films, listening to music.....with my friends. But I don't wish my eyes were hurt more. So I always try to see films less.

31 users have voted.
An_An's picture
An_An 23 April, 2017 - 21:21

In the week, I enjoy listening to music and playing guitar every day. I mind not doing my homework and I evoid spending too much time in the computer.

90 users have voted.
ihsan's picture
ihsan 5 February, 2017 - 13:50

in my week , I enjoy visiting my family and doing picnic. I do not mind doing some exercises to physic subject because I love it .I do avoid doing if possible , play a lot of game in the laptop because it's so bad for eyes

95 users have voted.
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

101 users have voted.
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.

90 users have voted.
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

105 users have voted.
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)

122 users have voted.
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

105 users have voted.
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)

108 users have voted.
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?

109 users have voted.
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)

107 users have voted.
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)


114 users have voted.
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?

110 users have voted.
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)

119 users have voted.