GERUND OR INFINITIVE?

GERUND OR INFINITIVE?

The two groups of verbs below can be followed either by the gerund or by the infinitive. Usually this has no effect on the meaning, but with some verbs there is a clear difference in meaning. Verbs marked * can also be followed by a that-clause.

Example: to prefer

I prefer to live in an apartment.
I prefer living in an apartment.

A. Verbs where there is little or no difference in meaning:

allow
attempt
begin
bother
cease
continue

deserve
fear*
hate*
intend* 
like 
love

neglect
omit
permit
prefer*
recommend*
start

Notes:

1. Allow is used in these two patterns:

a. Allow + object + to-infinitive:

  • Her parents allowed her to go to the party.

b. Allow + gerund:

  • Her parents don’t allow smoking in the house.

2. Deserve + gerund is not very common, but is mainly used with passive constructions or where there is a passive meaning:

  • Your proposals deserve being considered in detail.
  • These ideas deserve discussing. (= to be discussed).
3. The verbs hate, love, like, prefer are usually followed by a gerund when the meaning is general, and by a to-infinitive when they refer to a particular time or situation. You must always use the to-infinitive with the expressions ‘would love to’, ‘would hate to’, etc.

Compare:

  • I hate to tell you, but Uncle Jim is coming this weekend.
  • I hate looking after elderly relatives!
  • I love dancing.
  • I would love to dance with you.

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