Infinitive or – ing

Infinitive or – ing?

Sometimes we need to decide whether to use a verb in its:

-ing form (doing, singing)
Infinitive form (to do, to sing).

For example, only one of the following sentences is correct. Which one?

* I dislike working late. (???)
* I dislike to work late. (???)

When to use the infinitive

The infinitive form is used after certain verbs:
– forget, help, learn, teach, train
– choose, expect, hope, need, offer, want, would like
– agree, encourage, pretend, promise
– allow, can/can’t afford, decide, manage, mean, refuse

* I forgot to close the window.
* Mary needs to leave early.
* Why are they encouraged to learn English?
* We can’t afford to take a long holiday.

The infinitive form is always used after adjectives, for example:
– disappointed, glad, happy, pleased, relieved, sad, surprised

* I was happy to help them.
* She will be delighted to see you.

This includes too + adjective:
* The water was too cold to swim in.
* Is your coffee too hot to drink?

The infinitive form is used after adjective + enough:
* He was strong enough to lift it.
* She is rich enough to buy two.

When to use – ing

The – ing form is used when the word is the subject of a sentence or clause:
* Swimming is good exercise.
* Doctors say that smoking is bad for you.

The – ing form is used after a preposition:
* I look forward to meeting you.
* They left without saying “Goodbye.”

The – ing form is used after certain verbs:
– avoid, dislike, enjoy, finish, give up, mind/not mind, practise
* I dislike getting up early.
* Would you mind opening the window?

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Infinitive or – ing