Gerunds vs. Infinitives

English Grammar 9 March 2010 | 4 Comments

Another grammar point that goes with gerunds is using infinitives (ex. to sleep). The big question is, when do you use an infinitive and when do you use a gerund??? There are lots of rules and cases where you use one or the other, for this post, I will give an overview and go into more detail in future posts.
Both gerunds and infinitives can be used as the subject of a sentence:
Surfing at the beach is fun.
To surf at the beach is fun.

Both can be used as the object of a sentence:
I like surfing at the beach.
I like to surf at the beach.

Only gerunds can be used as the object of the preposition:
I like speaking about surfing at the beach. – correct
I like speaking about to surf at the beach. – incorrect

Here are a few generalizations when deciding to use one or the other:

Gerunds are used when the actions are finished or they are real.
I finished surfing.
I stopped surfing.
(I have completely finished surfing.)

Infinitives are used when the actions take place in the future or they are not real.
I stopped to surf.
(This means I was doing something else, like walking and I stopped doing that and then soon I will begin to surf.)

4 Responses on “Gerunds vs. Infinitives”

  1. horas silitonga says:

    “verb+ing” also use in continuous tense..

  2. Yvonne says:

    Yes, there are a few tenses that use verb+ing. Verb+ing are only called gerunds when they are used as nouns. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Aelphaeis says:

    Another important lesson! Sometimes I get confused with this, too. Hope you explain this in more detail in future posts 🙂

  4. Yvonne says:

    I will! I think it will take several posts. There are lots of various aspects to it! Thanks for reading it! I appreciate your support, as always!

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