Thinking Box

Fundamentals of English Grammar - Chapter 13: Gerunds and Infinitives

13-1 Verb + Gerund

  • (a) I enjoy walking in the park.

    A gerund is in the -ing form of a verb. It is used as a noun.
    In (a): walking is a gerund. It is used as the object of the verb enjoy.

  • Common Verbs Followed by Gerunds
    enjoy
    (b) I enjoy working in my garden.
    finish
    (c) Ann finished studying at midnight.
    quit
    (d) David quit smoking.
    mind
    (e) Would you mind opening the window?
    postpone
    (f) I postpone doing my homework.
    put off
    (g) I put off doing my homework.
    keep (on)
    (h) Keep (on) working. Don't stop.
    consider
    (i) I'm thinking about going to Hawaii.
    discuss
    (k) They discuss getting a new car.
    talk about
    (l) They talked about getting a new car.

    The verbs in the list are followed by gerunds. The list also contains phrasal verbs (e.g., put off) that are followed by gerunds.

    The verbs in the list are NOT followed by to + the simple form of a verb (an infinitive).
    INCORRECT: I enjoy to walk in the park.
    INCORRECT: Bob finished to study.
    INCORRECT: I'm thinking to go to Hawaii.

  • (m) I considered not going to class.

    Negative form: not + gerund

13-2 Go + -ing

  • (a) Did you go shopping yesterday?
    (b) I went swimming last week.
    (c) Bob hasn't gone fishing in years.

    Go is followed by a gerund in certain idiomatic expressions about activities.

    NOTE: There is no to between go and the gerund.
    INCORRECT: Did you go to shopping?

  • Common Expressions with go + -ing
    go boating / go dancing / go jogging / go (window) shopping / go (water) skiing
    go bowling / go fishing / go running / go sightseeing / go skydiving
    go camping / go hiking / go sailing / go (ice) skating / go swimming

13-3 Verb + Infinitive

  • (a) Tom offered to lend me some money.
    (b) I've decided to buy a new car.

    Some verbs are followed by an infinitive.
    Infinitive = to + the simple form of a verb

  • (c) I've decided not to keep my old car.

    Negative form: not + infinitive

  • Common Verbs Followed by Infinitives
    want / need / would like / would love
    hope / expect / plan / intend / mean
    decide / promise / offer / agree / refuse
    seem / appear / pretend
    learn (how) / try
    (can't) afford / (can't) wait

13-4 Verb + Gerund or Infinitive

  • (a) It began raining.
    (b) It began to rain.

    Some verbs are followed by either a gerund, as in (a), or an infinitive, as in (b). Usually there is no difference in meaning.
    Examples (a) and (b) have same meaning.

  • Common Verbs Followed by Either a Gerund or an Infinitive
    begin / start / continue
    like* / love*
    hate / can't stand

*COMPARE: Like and love can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive:
I like going / to go to movies. I love playing / to play chess.
Would like and would love are followed by infinitives:
I would like to go to a movie tonight. I'd love to play a game of chess right now.

13-5 Preposition + Gerund

  • (a) Kate insisted on coming with us.
    (b) We're excited about going to Tahiti.
    (c) I apologized for being late.

    A preposition is followed by a gerund, not an infinitive.
    In (a): The preposition (on) is followed by a gerund (coming).

  • Common Expressions with Prepositions Followed by Gerunds
    be afraid of (doing something) / instead of / be tired of
    be excited about / be nervous about / worry about / be worried about
    dream about/of
    apologize for / forgive (someone) for / thank (someone) for / be responsible for
    believe in / be interested in
    insist on / plan on
    stop (someone) from
    look forward to
    be good at
    feel like

13-6 Using By and With to Express How Something Is Done

  • (a) Pat turned off the TV by pushing the "off" button.

    By + a gerund is used to express how something is done.

  • (b) Mary goes to work by bus.
    (c) Andrea stirred her coffee with a spoon.

    By or with followed by a noun is also used to express how something is done.

  • By IS USED FOR MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION
    by (air)plane / by subway / by mail/email / by air
    by boat / by taxi / by (tele)phone / by land
    by bus / by train / by fax / by sea
    by car / by foot (or: on foot) (but: in person)
    OTHER USES OF *BY
    by chance / by mistake / by check (but: in cash)
    by choice / by hand* / by credit card

  • WITH IS USED FOR INSTRUMENTS OR PARTS OF THE BODY
    I cut down the tree with an ax (by using an ax).
    I swept the floor with a broom.
    She pointed to a spot on the map with her finger.

*The expression by hand is usually used to mean that something was made by a person, not by a machine: This rug was made by hand. (A person, not a machine, made this rug.)
COMPARE: I touched his shoulder with my hand.

13-7 Using Gerunds as Subjects; Using It + Infinitive

(a) Riding horse is fun.
(b) It is fun to ride horses.

(c) Coming to class on time is important.
(d) It is important to come to class on time.

Examples (a) and (b) have the same meaning.
In (a): A gerund (riding) is the subject of the sentence.
Notice: The verb (is) is singular because a gerund is singular.*

In (b): It is used as the subject of the sentence. It has the same meaning as the infinitive phrase at the end of the sentence: it mean to ride horses.

*It is also correct (but less common) to use an infinitive as the subject of a sentence: To ride horses is fun.

13-8 It + Infinitive: Using For (Someone)

(a) You should study hard.
(b) It is important for you to study hard.

(c) Mary should study hard.
(d) It is important for Mary to study hard.

(e) We don't have to go to the meeting.
(f) It isn't necessary for us to go to the meeting.

(g) A dog can't talk.
(h) It is impossible for a dog to talk.

Examples (a) and (b) have a similar meaning.
Notice the pattern in (b):
It is + adjective + for(someone) + infinitive phrase

13-9 Expressing Purpose with In Order To and For

  • Why did you go to the post office?
    (a) I went to the post office because I wanted to mail a letter.
    (b) I went to the post office in order to mail a letter.
    (c) I went to the post office to mail a letter.

    In order to expresses purpose. It answers the question "Why?"

    In (c): in order is frequently omitted. Examples (a), (b), and (c) have the same meaning.

  • (d) I went to the post office for some stamps.
    (e) I went to the post office to buy some stamps.

    For is also used to express purpose, but it is a preposition and it is followed by a noun phrase, as in (d).

13-10 Using Infinitives with Too and Enough

  • too + adjective + (for someone) + infinitive
    (a) That box is too heavy to lift.
    (b) A piano is too heavy for me to lift.
    (c) That box is too heavy for Bob to lift.

    enough + noun + infinitive
    (d) I don't have enough money to buy that car.
    (e) Did you have enough time to finish the test?

    Infinitives often follow expressions with too.
    Too comes in front of an adjective. In the speaker's mind, the use of too implies a negative result.

    COMPARE:
    The box is too heavy, I can't lift it.
    The box is very heavy, but I can lift it.

  • adjective + enough + infinitive
    (f) Jimmy isn't old enough to go to school.
    (g) Are you hungry enough to eat three sandwiches?

    Infinitives often follow expressions with enough.
    Enough comes in front of a noun.*
    Enough follows an adjective.

*Enough can also follow a noun: I don't have money enough to buy that car. In everyday English, however, enough usually comes in front of a noun.

评论