|Using Gerunds and Infinitives|
|Written by Martine Johnston, International Student Centre|
Gerunds and infinitives are verb forms that can take the place of a noun in a sentence. The following guidelines and lists will help you figure out whether a gerund or infinitive is needed.
Following a verb (gerund or infinitive)
Both gerunds and infinitives can replace a noun as the object of a verb. Whether you use a gerund or an infinitive depends on the main verb in the sentence. Consult the lists below to find out which form to use following which verbs.
Some common verbs followed by a gerund (note that phrasal verbs, marked here with *, always fall into this category):
Some common verbs followed by an infinitive:
Following a preposition (gerund only)
Gerunds can follow a preposition; infinitives cannot.
Note: Take care not to confuse the preposition "to" with an infinitive form, or with an auxiliary form such as have to, used to, going to
Following an indirect object (infinitive only)
Some verbs are followed by a pronoun or noun referring to a person, and then an infinitive. Gerunds cannot be used in this position.
Some common verbs followed by an indirect object plus an infinitive:
Follow this link to HyperGrammar at the University of Ottawa for a review of the parts of speech.