Gerunds and infinitives are interesting because they look like verbs, but they act like nouns. Form: Gerunds: verb + ing ( swimming, talking, listening to ) Infinitives: to + verb ( to swim, to talk, to listen to ) Form & Function
Can be used to make general statements: Studying English is fun! It is fun to study English. (Use “it” as subject) To study English is fun. (very formal, not often used) Both G & I
Function: Act as subject of sentence: Swimming in the ocean is thrilling. Act as object of sentence: Ben likes swimming in the ocean. His mother doesn’t like his swimming in the ocean. His mother doesn’t like Ben’s swimming in the ocean. INFORMAL: His mother doesn’t like him swimming in the ocean. Gerund Function
Act as object of a preposition*: She dreamed about going to Italy one day. We are interested in learning about grammar. *Notice that the preposition might follow a verb or it might follow an adjective. Infinitives do not follow prepositions. Gerund Function
Playing soccer is good exercise. The person who is playing soccer is my brother. My brother is playing soccer with his team. He loves playing soccer. Which of these are gerunds?
Follow special verbs: Verb + Infinitive I like to teach English. Verb + Object + Infinitive I will convince you to speak English in the classroom. Verb + Infinitive OR Verb + Object + Infinitive I want to study for the test.I want you to study for the test. Infinitive Function
Follow Adjectives: The students were excited to take the test. Follow Nouns: It’s time to take a break. Explain Purpose: We study to pass our tests. This is the same as: We study in order to pass our tests. Infinitive Function (cont)
Some verbs can be followed by either the G or the I and the meanings are the same: We started studying grammar last week. We started to study grammar last week. There are a few SPECIAL VERBS that have a different meaning when they’re followed by a G or by an I. I stopped smoking = I quit smoking. I stopped to smoke = I quit what I was doing and smoked a cigarette. Tricky things:
“To” is tricky! Sometimes it’s a preposition of direction: I am going to Marcie’s office. Sometimes it’s part of an infinitive: I love to go to Marcie’s office. Sometimes it’s part of a phrasal verb: I am looking forward to going to Marcie’s office. More trickiness:
We are beginning to realize this class is hard! We walked to the cinema, but the movie was canceled. They can’t wait to see each other next week. She was accustomed to studying every night. He offered to pay for her dinner. Which are infinitives?