CHOOSING BETWEEN THE ING OR INFINITIVE FORM OF THE VERB IS NOT ALWAYS SIMPLE
In English, when you have two or more verbs in a sentence that are related to one another in that sentence, the form of the second verb can either be in gerund form “ing” (making it more like a noun than a verb, example “taking”)) or it can be in the infinitive form (example, “to take”). But how can you tell which is correct between the ING or infinitive?
For example, if you need to tell your child to take a shower you would say:
“You need to take a shower now. ”
Notice that the two verbs in that sentence are are “need” and “take.”
The first verb is conjugated normally. But the second verb is not conjugated. It stays in the infinitive.
In that sentence, you COULD NOT say “you need taking a shower now.” Not only because it sounds funny, which it does, but also because it is just grammatically not correct in English to follow the verb “to need” with the ING FORM.
Why? Because the first verb “need” is almost always followed by the infinitive in English. It is never followed by the gerund “ing” form of the verb.
ING or INFINITIVE? The General rules are as follows:
- Some verbs MUST be followed by the infinitive form and others MUST be followed by a gerund.
- Yet other verbs can be followed by either the gerund or the infinitive.
- Sometimes, the form that follows can change the meaning of the second verb completely and the sense of the sentence completely.
Examples: “I remembered to give him the files.” vs “I remembered giving him the files.”
- Sometimes an object comes between the first verb and the second verb (usually the infinitive form).
Examples: “I allowed John to take more cherries.”
- *Note that phrasal verbs also follow this rule. Example: “She gave up expecting him to change.”
- *Note also that certain nouns can also be followed by the infinitive form. Example: “He had the desire to slice off her nose.”
LIST OF VERBS THAT MUST BE FOLLOWED BY THE GERUND “ING” FORM (this is not an exhaustive list)
- Admit (example: I admit taking the car this morning)
- Appreciate (example: Did you appreciate seeing your brother?)
- Can’t help
- Can’t resist
- Can’t stand
- Carry on
- Give up
- Given up
- Help, resist, face & Stand (with couldn’t and can’t)
- Keep, keep on, carry on
- Mind (negatives and questions in particular)
- Put off
- Spend time with
VERBS THAT CAN BE EITHER INFINITIVE OR GERUND FORM
- Go on
- Remember * (this could sometimes take the ING form)
VERBS THAT ARE USUALLY FOLLOWED BY THE INFINITIVE IN ENGLISH
- Choose To
NOUNS THAT CAN BE FOLLOWED BY THE INFINITIVE
- Agreement (example: We had an agreement to manufacture crystals)
Verbs that usually can take an object before the second verb:
- advise (example: “I advise you to toss him out of the car.”)
- allow (example: Mom allowed me to put a perm in my hair when I was thirty.)