All forms of gerunds and infinitives
You can see all the gerund and infinitive forms in the table below. Some forms are not included in the table because they don’t exist or are very rarely used.
Simple, continuous and perfect infinitives and gerunds
We use the perfect infinitive or the perfect gerund to emphasize that the action is complete or in the past.
Simple gerund vs perfect gerund
There is usually no difference between using the simple gerund or the perfect gerund because the context usually makes it clear when the action happened.
- He denied stealing the money. (=It’s clear the money was stolen before denying it)
- He denied having stolen the money.
- She regretted marrying too early. (=It’s clear she married before regretting it)
- She regretted having married too early.
But sometimes there is a difference in meaning between using the simple gerund or the perfect gerund.
- He denied being married. (=he denied that he was married ‘now’, at the time of the denial)
- He denied having been married. (=he denied that he had been married before, in the past)
Simple infinitive vs perfect infinitive
As it happens with the gerund, sometimes there’s no difference between using the simple or the perfect forms of the infinitive.
- It was stupid of me to say anything on Twitter.
- It was stupid of me to have said anything on Twitter.
However, there is usually a difference in meaning between using the simple or the perfect infinitive forms, and we need to use the perfect forms to make clear that the action expressed by the infinitive was previous to the action described by the main verb.
- I’m very glad to work here. (=now)
- I’m very glad to have worked here. (=in the past)
We use the continuous infinitive the express that the action is in progress around the time expressed by the main verb.
- I’m glad to be spending this weekend with you.
- You shouldn’t be doing this right now, should you?
Perfect continuous infinitive
We use the perfect continuous infinitive to express duration from earlier in the past towards the time expressed by the main verb.
- I’m glad to have been sharing my life with you.
- They are thought to have been hiding in the mountains.
Perfect infinitive after passive reporting verbs
After a passive reporting verb, we use a simple or continuous infinitive to refer to the present or future, and a perfect infinitive to refer to the past. (⇒ See B1+ Grammar »
- They are believed to be lovers. (=now)
- They are believed to have been lovers. (=in the past)
- She is thought to be living in Brussels. (=now)
- She is thought to have been living in Brussels (=from the past till now)
Perfect infinitive after would like, would hate, would rather, would prefer
We always use the perfect infinitive after would like, would hate, would rather, would prefer to refer to an earlier action or event. Compare:
- I would like to see you once more. (=in the future)
- I would like to have seen you once more. (=in the past)
- She would rather be with you. (=now)
- She would rather have been with you. (=in the past)
Passive infinitives and gerunds
We use passive infinitives or passive gerunds to describe actions which are done to the subject. (⇒ See B1+ Grammar »
- He is too young to be allowed to be here.
- This place needs to be taken care of.
- I don’t mind being told what to do.
- He denied having been offered money to kill the senator.
When to use gerund or infinitive
In the table below, you can see when to use gerund or infinitive.