Learn English – Verb+ing or Infinitive

Posted on Posted in Language Topics

Sometimes it is difficult to know when to use verbing or to verb.

Why is this tricky for language learners?

There are not many rules on this topic, so here is some helpful information…

1. Sometimes both to verb and verbing can be used in the same sentence with no change in meaning.
E.g. ‘I like reading’.
‘I like to read’.

2. Sometimes both can be used in the same sentence with different meanings.
E.g. ‘I stopped to look in the window’. (= I was walking – I stopped – I looked in the window)
‘I stopped looking in the window’. (= I was looking in the window – I looked somewhere else)

3. Some verbs/expressions are always followed by verb-ing, e.g. ‘enjoy’, ‘don’t mind’.
E.g. ‘I enjoy running
‘I don’t mind speaking English every day’.

4. Some verbs/expressions are always followed by to verb, e.g. ‘want’, ‘would like’
E.g. ‘I want to go to the supermarket’. – You cannot say ‘I want going to the supermarket’.
‘I would like to watch a film’. – You cannot say ‘I would like watching a film.’

5. Verbing can be the first word of a sentence.

E.g. Running is a good form of exercise.
Eating fruit and vegetables contributes to having a balanced diet.

In these sentences verb-ing is acting like a noun.

To+verb is not used in the same way.

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