There are certain words in English that are usually followed by an infinitive or gerund. If you are not sure whether to use the infinitive or gerund, check out our lists below.
1. Some Common Verbs Followed by a Gerund
- Acknowledge: She acknowledged receiving assistance.
- Admit: They admitted falsifying the data.
- Advise: The author advises undertaking further study.
- Anticipate: He anticipates having trouble with his supervisor.
- Appreciate: I appreciated having a chance to read your draft.
- Avoid: He avoided answering my question.
- Complete: I finally completed writing my thesis.
- Consider: They will consider granting you money.
- Defer: She deferred writing her report.
- Delay: We delayed reporting the results until we were sure.
- Deny: They denied copying the information.
- Discuss: They discussed running the experiments again.
- Entail: This review procedure entails repeating the test.
- Involve: This procedure involves testing each sample twice.
- Justify: My results justify taking drastic action.
- Mention: The author mentions seeing this event.
- Postpone: The committee has postponed writing the report.
- Recall: I cannot recall getting those results before.
- Resent: He resented spending so much time on the project.
- Recommend: She recommends reading Marx.
- Resist: The writer resists giving any easy answers.
- Risk: She risks losing her viewing time.
- Sanction: They will not sanction copying without permission.
- Suggest: I suggest repeating the experiment.
- Tolerate: She can’t tolerate waiting for results.
Following a preposition (gerund only):
Gerunds can follow a preposition; infinitives cannot.
- Can you touch your toes without bending your knees?
- He was fined for driving over the speed limit.
- She got the money by selling the car.
- A corkscrew is a tool for taking corks out of bottles.
Note: Take care not to confuse the preposition “to” with an infinitive form, or with an auxiliary form such as have to, used to, going to
- He went back to writing his paper. (Preposition + Gerund)
- I used to live in Mexico. (Auxiliary + Verb)
- I want to go home. (Verb + Infinitive)
2. Some Common Verbs Followed by an Infinitive
- Afford: We cannot afford to hesitate.
- Agree: The professors agreed to disagree.
- Appear: The results appear to support your theory.
- Arrange: They had arranged to meet at noon.
- Beg: I beg to differ with you.
- Care: Would you care to respond?
- Claim: She claims to have new data.
- Consent: Will you consent to run for office?
- Decide: When did he decide to withdraw?
- Demand: I demand to see the results of the survey.
- Deserve: She deserves to have a fair hearing.
- Expect: The committee expects to decide by tomorrow.
- Fail: The trial failed to confirm his hypothesis.
- Hesitate: I hesitate to try the experiment again.
- Hope: What do you hope to accomplish?
- Learn: We have learned to proceed with caution.
- Manage: How did she manage to find the solution?
- Neglect: The author neglected to provide an index.
- Need: Do we need to find new subjects?
- Offer: We could offer to change the time of the meeting.
- Plan: They had planned to attend the conference.
- Prepare: He was not prepared to give a lecture.
- Pretend: I do not pretend to know the answer.
- Promise: They promise to demonstrate the new equipment.
- Refuse: She refused to cooperate any longer.
- Seem: Something seems to be wrong with your design.
- Struggle: We struggled to understand her point of view.
- Swear: He swears to tell the truth.
- Threaten: The team threatened to stop their research.
- Volunteer: Will you volunteer to lead the group?
- Wait: We could not wait to hear the outcome.
- Want: She did not want to go first.
- Wish: Do you wish to participate?
Following an indirect object (infinitive only):
Some common verbs followed by an indirect object plus an infinitive:
- Ask: I must ask you to reconsider your statement.
- Beg: They begged her to stay for another term.
- Cause: His findings caused him to investigate further.
- Challenge: Wilkins challenged Watson to continue the research.
- Convince: Can we convince them to fund our study?
- Encourage: She encouraged him to look beyond the obvious.
- Expect: They did not expect us to win an award.
- Forbid: The author forbade me to change his wording.
- Force: They cannot force her to reveal her sources.
- Hire: Did the department hire him to teach the new course?
- Instruct: I will instruct her to prepare a handout.
- Invite: We invite you to attend the ceremony.
- Need: They need her to show the slides.
- Order: He ordered the group to leave the building.
- Persuade: Can we persuade you to contribute again?
- Remind: Please remind him to check the references.
- Require: They will require you to submit an outline.
- Teach: We should teach them to follow standard procedures.
- Tell: Did she tell him to make three copies?
- Urge: I urge you to read the instructions before you begin.
- Want: I do not want you to have an accident.
- Warn: Why didn’t they warn me to turn down the heat?