Many verbs in English can be combined with verbs in the gerund (doing) or infinitive (to do) form.
Verb + Gerund
Some verbs are followed by the gerund (or ing) form of the verb:
consider doing -> I haven't considered looking for a new job.
appreciate doing -> I appreciate listening to music on a daily basis.
Verb + Infinitive
Some verbs are followed by the infinitive form of the verb:
hope to do -> I hope to see you next week at the party.
decide to do -> I've decided to find a new job next week.
Most verbs take either the gerund or the infinitive, but not both forms. In this case, it's important to learn which verbs take which form. However, there are a number of verbs which can take both forms. Most of these keep the meaning the same:
She started to play the piano. = She started playing the piano.
I like to go to the beach at least once a year. = I like going to the beach at least once a year.
Some verbs which can take both forms have a change in meaning depending on whether the verb is followed by the gerund or the infinitive. Here is an explanation of these verbs with examples to help provide context.
Forget to Do
Use forget to do to indicate that someone did not do something:
She often forgets to lock the door when she leaves the house.
I forgot to get the groceries at the supermarket.
Use forget doing to say that someone doesn't remember something that they have done in the past:
Mary forgets meeting Tim in Italy.
Annette forgot locking the door before she left her home.
Remember to Do
Use remember to do when speaking about something someone should do:
Make sure you remember to pick up some eggs at the supermarket.
I'm sure I'll remember to invite Peter to the party. Don't worry about it!
Use remember doing to speak about a memory that someone has:
I remember buying him a present.
Jeff remembers living in Italy like it was yesterday.
Regret to Do
Use regret to do in the case that someone must do something that is unpleasant:
I regret to tell you the bad news
They regret to inform us that we've lost all our money!
Use regret doing to express that someone doesn't like what they did at some time in the past:
Peter regrets moving to Chicago.
Allison regrets falling in love with Tim.
Stop to Do
Use stop to do in order to say that someone stops one action in order to do another action:
Jason stopped to speak with his boss about the convention.
My friend stopped to smoke a cigarette before he continued with the conversation.
Use stop doing to show that someone has completely quit some action. This form is often used when speaking about bad habits:
I stopped smoking cigarettes.
You should stop complaining about money all the time.
Try to Do
Use try to do to encourage someone to do something:
He should try to learn a new language.
I think you should try to save some money this month.
Use try doing when speaking about an experiment or something that is new:
He tried going to a fitness club, but it didn't work out for him.
Have you ever tried cooking fish in olive oil?
Infinitive or Gerund Quiz
Test your understanding of these differences in meaning by deciding whether the verb should be used in the infinitive or gerund form based on the clues provided:
- Jack remembers _____ (buy) eggs at the supermarket because he always takes a list.
- Jason stopped _____ (play) the piano at six because it was time for dinner.
- I certainly didn't forget ___________ (ask) him the question because he's already given me his answer.
- Janice stopped _____ (make) a telephone call before she continued with her shopping.
- What's the worst thing you regret _____ (do) in your life?
- Have you ever forgotten _____ (get) a present for your wife on your anniversary?
- Alan stopped _____ (drink) years ago because of a serious liver problem.
- I regret _____ (tell) you that we are going out of business next month.
- I remember ______ (play) football when I was in high school. Unfortunately, I didn't play much during the games.
- I don't think I'll ever regret _____ (fall) in love with my wife. We've been married for over thirty years!
- to buy
- to ask
- to make
- to get
- to tell