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The use of infinitives & verbs with ending “ing” – part 2

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Apart from verbs mentioned in the first part of the article, another verb changes into to-infinitive also after the following words:

verb example
ask I asked to see the doctor. 
can’t afford I can’t afford to buy a new car this year.
hope I hope to pass all my exams.
manage We managed to finish the work on time.
offer Diana offered to help with the kids.
refuse The man refused to cooperate with the police.
seem She seemed to be frightened.
threaten The burglars threatened to kill the owner if he didn’t give them all the money.
wish Mr Robertson wishes to see you.


Sometimes between the first verb and another in the infinitive, “the object” is used.

My Dad taught me to play the guitar.
She asked her boyfriend to lend her some money.

This type of structure appears usually after:

type of structure example
verbs expressing commandment, request, invitation, warning, order (verbs referring to telling somebody something) She told me to get ready.
persuaded them to go to the theatre.
She invited me to take part in her project.
He warned us not to touch any of his coins.
The general commanded them to shoot.
I begged her to forgive me for treason.
type of structure example
verbs expressing desire, willingness Do you want him to come?
I’d like you to show me around.
We’d love you to stay longer.
I’d prefer you not to hang about with them.
 hate you to talk like that! 

Verbs expressing permission, advice or incentive allow use both the infinitive and -ing form. In the second case, complement is left:

She’s advised me to take a towel as we may go swimming in the pool.
She’s advised taking a towel as we may go swimming in the pool.

Did you allow him to smoke in your living room?
Did you allow smoking in your living room? 

They won’t permit you to enter the building.
They won’t permit entering the building. 


“Infinitive + to” stands also after some adjectives:

adjective example
glad I’m glad to see you again.
pleased Pleased to meet you, Mrs Smith.
easy/ difficult This theory is easy to understand.
interesting It’s interesting to see these animals in their natural habitat.

And also: hard, impossible, dangerous, expensive, nice, important, good, sorry, happy

It’s nice of you to help me.

Sometimes adjective requires the use of the object:

It was silly of her to think he loved her. 

Infinitive also appears in the construction:

too + adjective + infinitive

She’s too young to drive.
I’m too tired to watch television tonight. 


Some nouns require the use of an infinitive. Most popular of them:

noun example
ability I’m impressed with his ability to work around the clock.
attempt She made an attempt to get in touch with her ex-husband.
decision We told the kids about the decision to move to the country.
plan Their plan to escape was not very brilliant.
wish He fulfilled my wish to see Venice.


Infinitive with “to” is also used to express purpose. Depending on context is translated as “to do something” and can stand after verb, noun, pronoun and may function independently as well:

She phoned to tell me about the concert.
Have you got much work to do

Mum gave us some money to buy ice-cream.
Why are you leaving so early? To catch my bus.



If after the main verb (which requires the use of the verb in the basic form with “to”) there are two or more infinitives, you can omit “to” in the second and subsequent ones:

I promised her to come and help with the children.
He wanted to call you, apologise and say goodbye, but he changed his mind after all.


Infinitive without “to” stands after every auxiliary verb, except for “have to” and “ought to”:

must be going.
You shouldn’t leave now. Wait another ten minutes.
He might be at work.
We may stay longer than we expected.


You ought to work less, Phillip.
There were no buses going to the centre in the next half an hour, so she had to take a taxi.



There are verbs after which we put the second verb in the infinitive + “to” or without “to” (depending on the situation). However, there is a group of verbs that requires the use of the infinitive but the form of gerunds. Examples of the most popular:

verb example
appreciate I really appreciate having time to rest.
avoid She avoided being seen in public.
consider Have you ever consider going to live in the country.
delay We should delay making a decision until next month.
deny She denied talking to him.
feel like I feel like going to the cinema tonight.
imagine I can’t imagine skiing
involve The work involves making phone calls, sending a fax and writing e-mails. 
mind I don’t mind working late at night.
risk She won’t risk losing her money.
suggest Miranda suggested going to a disco tonight.
can’t help I can’t help crying, this film is so sad!
can’t stand My dad can’t stand hearing me sing

Use of structure with “that” is possible after some verbs, e.g. admit, suggest, deny:

She denied that she talked to him.
Miranda suggested that we go to a disco tonight.


Sometimes we have to put an object between the main verb and the verb with the ending -ing

Especially with verbs such as: find, smell, not like, dislike, mind.

My father doesn’t like me staying up late.
found him working in the garden.
I could smell something burnt.


In every situation when after a preposition a verb is put – this verb may have -ing form:

I can’t open the window without taking the plants down.
Thank for helping me with all that work.
Mary’s always talking about moving abroad.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Are you good at swimming?


Here is a group of expressions, after which a verb gets an ending -ing:

it’s no use

It’s no use crying now. You should have been more careful. 

 it’s (not) worth

This film wasn’t worth watching. 

instead of

Why don’t you go out instead of spending all the time in front of the TV? 

a waste of time/money

Going there was a complete waste of time.

 have difficulty/trouble

I had no difficulty finding the hotel. 

there’s no point in

There’s no point in pretending it hasn’t happened. 

As shown on example with “a waste of time” -ing form not always appear right after particular structure – sometimes inverting word order is possible:

Going there was a complete waste of time = It was a complete waste of time going there.


After some verbs, you can use both the infinitive with “to” and the form “ing”, but this completely changes the meaning of the sentence:


“Remember to do” means that at the beginning we remember about that then we do an activity:

I remembered to take my documents.
Please remember to lock the door.

“Remember doing” means “to have an image in mind of something that was done”. Firstly, we do an activity, then we remember that:

remember taking my documents.
I can’t remember locking the door!


“Forget to do” means “to not remember to do something”:

forgot to lock the door.
We have only eggs and tomatoes for supper because Frank forgot to do the shopping. 

“Forget doing” means “to not remember doing something” (in the past):

I’ll never forget flying in a balloon.
You’ll soon forget meeting him.


“Regret to do” used when we, unfortunately, have to refuse to somebody or to regretfully inform somebody about something:

regret to inform that your offer cannot be accepted.
We regret to say that you don’t qualify, madam.
 “Regret doing” refers to past and means “a feeling of sadness or disappointment, which is caused by something that ones have done”:

regret telling him the truth. He didn’t understand anything.
She regretted being rude to me.


“Stop to do” means “to take a break doing something else to do something”:

The man stopped to look at the map.
The girl was riding her bike. Suddenly she stopped to talk to her mum who was sitting on a bench.

“Stop doing” means “to finish/quit doing something”:

Stop talking, please.
Will you stop making all that noise?

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