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Verb patterns: Using Infinitive or Gerund

Posted by April Pugh on 22-Nov-2018 13:13:34

Verb patterns in English can be confusing. There are some instances when the verb is in the infinitive form, and others when the verb is in the gerund. Here are some guidelines to help you understand when to use each one. 

Infinitive Guidelines 

We use the infinitive form of the verb after these word types or in certain situations.

  • To explain why (purpose) - 'I came to Celtic English Academy to study English.'
  • After adjectives - 'I am excited to do my presentation today.'
  • After modal verbs - 'You should speak in English every day.'
  • After object pronouns - 'The teacher asked them to complete the task for homework.'
  • After verbs that have a future intention, plan, desire - 'I hope to study at university next year.'

Gerund Guidelines

We use the gerund form of the verb (-ing) after these word types or in certain situations. The gerund turns the verb into a noun, it is not the continuous form of the verb. 

  • When the verb is the subject of the sentence - 'Improving my English is really important to me.'
  • After prepositions - ' I am really keen on reading books in English.'
  • After feeling verbs - 'The teacher likes doing different activities.'
  • After verbs that advise - ' I recommend / advise / suggest listening to podcasts to improve your English.'
  • After verbs 'stop' and 'start' - 'I started learning English when I was in primary school.'


We hope these guidelines will help you understand verb patterns more so you can perfect your accuracy in your writing and speaking. 


Test your knowledge. Put the verb in the infinitive or gerund.

  1. I prefer____________(go) on holidays to cold countries.
  2.  __________(find out) the best places to visit in Wales, she read lots of blogs.
  3. What do you hope __________________(achieve) in your studies by the end of the year?
  4. _____________ (make) international friends is probably the best way to practise my English.

For more #StudyTip lessons, click here. 

Topics: Study English

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