When do we use gerund or infinitive?
When we have to use a verb after another verb, or a certain kind of word, we sometimes use an infinitive or a gerund. It often depends on the word that comes before. Here you have a list of the main situations in which we use infinitives or gerunds.
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 we 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: 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 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 have an objective and we try something as an experiment to see if it helps us achieve that objective. We try something in order to achieve an objective.
- 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. (=We stopped driving in order to eat.)
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 ever.