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 bo th er.

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?


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

107 users have voted.
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)

100 users have voted.
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)


104 users have voted.
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,

108 users have voted.
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)

105 users have voted.
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.

75 users have voted.
1oo1oo's picture
1oo1oo 8 February, 2014 - 03:47

I wanna talk about my week although there are ma y mistake in y sentences but.....
Te be honest i really enjoy to study english a d read short story maybe i dont have any talent in english buuuuuuut i am trying and i hope one day i learn englisg well....

32 users have voted.
Gill_ketaram1998's picture
Gill_ketaram1998 3 February, 2014 - 12:42

i enjoy talking with my friend because i love my friend and them friendly they nice talking.

13 users have voted.
Pm2001's picture
Pm2001 3 February, 2014 - 12:40

I enjoy watching TV, playing on computer, playing with my rabbit because i like going with my rabbit to the garden :) she likes to eat grass.

18 users have voted.
cklj's picture
cklj 13 January, 2014 - 18:19

Well I love dancing, writing stories and poems, watching movies, reading books, surfing the Net and painting. I really enjoy talking and laughing with my friends and gossiping as we usually do. I don't mind doing the chores and helping my sister with her homework. Sometimes I try to avoid studying, but I can't so I guess I don't mind that too.

16 users have voted.
Arif's picture
Arif 1 November, 2013 - 19:27

hi i am new to this site and i have found it very helpful this website is really useful for us and i really enjoy
learning english

13 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 2 November, 2013 - 15:10

Hi Arif! Thanks a lot for your kind comment and please keep on letting us know what you like on the site. :)
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

16 users have voted.
Baylico's picture
Baylico 29 October, 2013 - 14:07

I enjoy listening to the music, drawing, talking my friends.
I'm not a craftsman, but I try to drawing and my friends say that my pictures are cool. without it, I can to play on the piano and i love it)) But there are things that I do not want to do. it means waking up at 6 45 o'clock, so on weekend I'll wake up at 9 or 10. Also I hate orchestra on weekends. it's terribly!!!!!!!!

15 users have voted.
Thecleverest's picture
Thecleverest 29 October, 2013 - 12:59

In my opinion English is best subject in our school.English videos and music help us.You can know interesting things.I enjoy learning English.In spare time I go to sport and read books.I enjoy learning English.

17 users have voted.
Rockerlml's picture
Rockerlml 20 September, 2013 - 15:26

i like listen to music an practice wrestling hearing static - x and iron maiden i avoid to go to the church

17 users have voted.