When to use gerund or infinitive
In the table below, you can see when to use gerund or infinitive.
Verbs that take gerund or infinitive with a change of meaning
Forget to do something: Used to talk about things that we need to do, and we forget to do them.
- I think forgot to lock the door when we left.
- Don’t forget to call me when you finish.
Forget doing something: It’s normally used in negative sentences. Used to talk about memories, normally about things that we did in the past and that we will not forget.
- I’ll never forget walking on that amazing beach for the first time.
Remember to do something: You remember first and then you do something. Used to talk about things we need to do.
- He didn’t remember to turn off the heating after class.
- Please, will you remember to close the windows if you leave?
Remember doing something: Used to talk about memories. We remember things from the past.
- I remember eating on this same chair the day I graduated.
- I remember mentioning the issue to Elisabeth last week.
Try to do something: When we try to do something, we make an effort to achieve something that we maybe we will or will not accomplish.
- Could you please try to be a bit less rude?
- I’ll try to convince him, but I’m not sure that’s going to change anything.
Try doing something: Used when we want to achieve something and try something as an experiment to see if it help us achieve what we want. We try a method (one of the many we could try) in order to achieve something.
- A: “I need to sleep but I can’t.” B: “Why don’t you try drinking a glass of hot milk?”
- I can’t contact Jane. I‘ve tried calling her home number and also on her mobile, but nothing.
Stop to do something: Used when we stop doing an activity so as to start doing a different one.
- We had been driving for hours, so we had to stop to eat something and go to the toilet.
Stop doing something: It means to finish doing something that we are doing.
- Could you stop biting your nails?
- I need to stop smoking once and for all.
Need to do something: It’s necessary to do something
- I need to see you immediately.
Something needs doing: It’s like a passive use. It means that something needs to be done.
- Your car needs cleaning. (=Your car needs to be cleaned.)