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21.9 Gerunds and Infinitives

Gerunds are nouns formed by adding -ing to a verb, such as running. Infinitives are nouns formed from the “to” form of a verb, such as to run. These two noun forms are called verbals, because they are formed from verbs. Experience with English will teach you which form to use in which situation. In the meantime, the following lists provide a brief overview.

Verbs That Should Be Followed Only by Gerunds and Not by Infinitives

These Verbs Could Fill This Blank: _______ (His) Walking

  • admit
  • avoid
  • complete
  • consider
  • delay
  • deny
  • dislike
  • finish
  • imagine
  • miss
  • postpone
  • quit
  • recommend
  • resist
  • stop
  • suggest
  • understand

Verbs That Should Be Followed Only by Infinitives and Not by Gerunds

These Verbs Could Fill This Blank: ________ to Walk

  • agree
  • appear
  • ask
  • beg
  • claim
  • decide
  • demand
  • desire
  • fail
  • happen
  • hesitate
  • intend
  • manage
  • offer
  • plan
  • pretend
  • struggle

Verbs That Can Be Followed by Either Gerunds or Infinitives

These Verbs Could Fill Either of These Blanks: ________ (His) Walking or ________ to Walk

  • begin
  • can(’t) afford
  • can(’t) bear
  • cease
  • commence
  • continue
  • dread
  • hate
  • intend
  • like
  • loathe
  • love
  • neglect
  • prefer
  • start
  • try
  • undertake

See Chapter 20 "Grammar", Section 20.1.7 "Deciding If Relative Pronouns Take a Singular or Plural Verb" for more information regarding gerunds and infinitives.