Gerund + Infinitive

The gerund is a kind of helping verb that ends in -ing which follows the main verb:


Dr. Freud avoided sleeping through a double feature starring Betty Grable.(red= main verb)


Blimpy never finished dreaming of his hamburger.(red= main verb)

The counterpart to the gerund is the infinitive. Whether one uses the gerund or the infinitive depends on what the main verb in the sentence. The following is an incomplete list of verbs that take only gerunds.

Verb + Gerund

admit discuss imagine put off risk
appreciate enjoy miss quit suggest
avoid escape postpone recall tolerate
deny finish practice resist  

Bill enjoys playing the piano.(red= main verb)

Some main verbs will take both the gerund and the infinitive.

Verb + Gerund or Infinitive

begin continue like can't stand start
hate love      

I love skiing.[gerund] (red= main verb)

I love to ski.[infinitive] (red= main verb)

With some verbs, however, the choice of a gerund or infinitive changes the meaning dramatically:

forget remember stop try  

She stopped speaking to Lucia.[gerund] (red= main verb)

She stopped to speak to Lucia.[infinitive] (red= main verb)

Verb + Infinitive

These verbs may be followed by a infinitive but not by a gerund

agree decide manage plan wait
ask expect mean pretend want
beg have need promise wish
claim hope offer refuse  

We plan to visit the Yucatan next week.(red= main verb)

Verb + noun (pronoun) + infinitive

With certain verbs in the active voice, a noun or pronoun must come between the verb and the infinitive that follows. The noun usually names a person who is effected by the action.

advise command have persuade tell
allow convince instruct remind urge
cause encourage order require warn

The class encouraged Luis to tell the story of his escape.(red= main verb)

A few verbs may be followed by either infinitive directly or by an infinitive preceded by a noun or pronoun.

ask expect need promise want would like

We asked to speak to the congregation.(red= main verb)

We asked Rabbi Abrams to speak to the congregation.(red= main verb)

Verb + noun (pronoun) + simple form

The simple form of a verb is an infinitive without the "to". A few verbs may be followed by a noun or pronoun and the simple form.

have ("cause") let ("allow") make ("force")

Please let me pay for the tickets.(red= main verb)

Phrasal Verbs (Two-word Verbs)

Many verbs in English consist of a verb followed by a preposition or an adverb (also known as particles).

A two-word verb (also known as a phrasal verb) often expresses an idiomatic meaning that cannot be understood literally.

Inseparable phrasal verbs

Verbs and particles may not be separated by any other words

catch on go out look into speak up
get along grow up run into stay away
give in keep on run out of take care of

Incorrect: Children grow quickly up

Correct: Children grow up quickly

Separable phrasal verbs

call off give back look up put back try on
call up hand in pick up put off try out
fill out help out point out take out turn down
give away look over put away take over  

Most two-word verbs that take direct objects may be separated by the object

Parents help out their children.

Parents help their children out.

If the direct object is a pronoun, the pronoun must separate the verb from the particle.

Incorrect: Parents help out them.

Correct: Parents help them out.

1. Most corporations want their employees to get_____each other.

2. I enjoy ________gourmet meals.

3. I've decided________a new apartment.

4. I like________new people.

5. Cindy wants________to go to graduate school next year.

6. I keep_______that I'll get a letter from her soon.

7. Some companies devise training programs to break____hostility between workers.

8. I considered_________to Minneapolis. Finally, I decided_____.

9. The workers can not put______the demands being placed upon them.

10. I'm thinking about_______a biology course next term.

11. Sam's blind dates never showed up. Finally, he quit ________to the dates himself.

12. Yesterday, Jason pretended_______a doctor, and Lorraine volunteered______ a patient.

13. Before Phoenix left this morning for Tucson, he threw ______his Sun Devils sun hat.

14. While I was walking down the street, I ran______an old friend.

15. Don't forget ______the coffee pot,_______all the lights, and______the door.

16. After I ran____of gas, I ran_____a tree and ran____a big bill at the mechanic's shop.

17. Sometimes Jane really annoys me; she really puts_______ when she puts_______and then won't put_____.

18. Where I come_____, you won't come_____a lot of money until you come_____of your shell and come_____a rich heiress.

19. Finally, he broke ____ his three-month stint with Juanita, then after his break____, he broke_____the party hats and champagne to celebrate the possibility of breaking___a new girl friend.

20. Joanie and Joshua couldn't get____anymore, so Joshua got___of town and got____with Lulu, but Joanie wouldn't let Joshua get______with that. She called him up and asked him,"Where do you get_____just leaving me here with our three kids?" Joshua told her to get____their ill-fated marriage becuase there was no way he was going to get____every morning to go to work at the aquarium in order to support her. Joanie said,"Fine! Don't worry about me. I'll get____."