Gerunds and Infinitives: Choosing the Right Verb Form
A gerund is a verb form that functions as a noun, and it always ends in “-ing.” An infinitive is the basic form of a verb, usually preceded by the word “to.”
Here are a few examples of gerunds and infinitives in action:
- “I love swimming.” (gerund, functions as the subject of the sentence)
- “I want to swim.” (infinitive, functions as the object of the verb “want”)
- “He enjoys playing the guitar.” (gerund, functions as the object of the verb “enjoys”)
- “He decided to play the guitar.” (infinitive, functions as the object of the verb “decided”)
In general, gerunds are used after certain verbs, such as “enjoy,” “finish,” “consider,” “suggest,” etc. and after prepositions such as “about,” “on,” “for,” etc.
On the other hand, infinitives are used after certain verbs such as “want,” “decide,” “hope,” “need,” etc.
It’s important to note that some verbs can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive without changing the meaning. Examples of these verbs include: “start,” “begin,” “continue,” “like,” “hate,” etc.
- “I started swimming” (gerund)
- “I started to swim” (infinitive)
Both sentences convey the idea of starting an action, but with a slightly different emphasis. The gerund focuses on the action itself, while the infinitive focuses on the purpose or the reason for starting the action.
In conclusion, gerunds and infinitives are two forms of verbs that have different functions in a sentence. Gerunds function as nouns and always end in “-ing.” Infinitives are the basic form of a verb, usually preceded by the word “to.” Gerunds are used after certain verbs and prepositions, while infinitives are used after certain verbs. Some verbs can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive without changing the meaning, but with a slightly different emphasis. Knowing when to use gerunds or infinitives can help you make your writing more clear, concise, and more accurate.