GERUNDS vs INFINITIVES

GERUND

A gerund is a noun made from a verb by adding “-ing”. A gerund form of the verb “teach” is “teaching”. You can use a gerund as the subject, the complement, or the object of a sentence.

Examples :

Teaching could be difficult. (subject)

Her dream job is teaching. (complement)

He enjoys teaching. (object)

Gerund can be made negative by adding “not”.

Examples :

He enjoys  not teaching.

Her dream job is not teaching.

 

INFINITIVE

Infinitives are the “to” form of the verb. The infinitive form of “learn” is “to learn”. You can also use a gerund as the subject, the complement, or the object of a sentence.

Examples :

To learn is important. (subject)

The most important thing is to learn. (complement)

He wants to learn. (object)

Infinitives can be negative by adding “not”`

Examples :

I decided not to go.

The most important thing is not to give up.

Both gerund and infinitive can be used as the subject or the complement of a sentence. However, as object or complements, gerund usually sound more like normal, spoken English, whereas infinitives sound more abstract. In the following sentences, gerunds sound more natural and would be more common in everyday English. Infinitives emphasize the possibility or potential for something and sound more philosophical. If this sounds confusing, just remember that 90% of the time, you will use a gerund as the subject or complement of a sentence.

Examples :

Learning is important. (normal subject)

To learn is important. (abstract subject – less common)

The most important thing is learning. (normal complement)

The most important thing is to learn. (abstract complement – less common)

Some verbs have different meaning (when used with Gerund or Infinitive).

VERB

GERUND

INFINITIVE

forget He’ll never forget spending so much money on his first computer. Don’t forget to spend money on the tickets.
go on Go on reading the text. Go on to read the text.
mean You have forgotten your homework again. That means phoning your mother. I meant to phone your mother, but my mobile didn’t work.
remember I remember switching off the lights when you go on holiday. Remember to switch off the lights when I went on holiday.
stop Stop reading the text. Stop to read the text.
try Why don’t you try running after the dog? I tried to run after the dog, but I was too slow.

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