,

Infinitive or Gerund – Verb Patterns and How to Learn Them (AJ #17)

Verb Patterns Infinitive Gerund Image

(Note: If you want to reach a high level of English, click here.)

In this episode of Ask Jack, I talk about verb patterns.

More specifically, I explain when to use the gerund and when to use the infinitive, look at other patterns, and then go through how you can learn them.


Facebook Share Button copyTwitter Share Button copy

Share the episode with your friends, and then continue reading below…

Transcript

Hello. This is Jack from ToFluency.com and this is Ask Jack, the free series where I answer your questions about learning English and the English language. We have a question about infinitive and gerunds today. So, take it away, Daniela. Daniela from Italy asks, “I often get confused when to use the gerund or the infinitive. Help.”

It can be confusing when we use 2 verbs together because it’s difficult to know if the second verb should be the gerund or if it should be the infinitive or maybe something else. So, what I’m going to do is give an introduction to the different verb patterns in English and then explain how you can learn them.

The first 2 patterns I want to introduce are the infinitive and the gerund. So, when we have a verb followed by another verb sometimes it’s infinitive. Sometimes we use the gerund. And, it just depends on the first verb that you use. So, for example, when we use the verb ‘want’, we use the infinitive. I want to travel more. When we use the verb ‘enjoy’, we use the gerund. I enjoy traveling. In this example, I’ve given you the American spelling and also the British spelling of traveling.

There are other cases too. For example, we’ll have the verb, the proposition and then a gerund or a verb, an object, and the bare infinitive or the verb, object and then infinitive. This might sound confusing. Don’t worry too much about this and I’ll explain why later. But, here are some examples. I’m thinking about doing some homework later. Our teacher made us do our homework after class. I want you to do this exercise for homework.

Sometimes, there are some special cases too, where we can use both the infinitive and the gerund but these give us a different meaning. Sometimes the meaning is really obvious. Sometimes it is more subtle. For example, I like to play football. I like playing football. Very, very similar in meaning but the first one suggests that I don’t play football on a regular basis. I like to play football. ‘I like playing football’ suggests that this is something I do. This is something I do on a regular basis. So, a subtle difference but it’s a good one to know.

Now, with verb patterns, the first verb is key and it doesn’t matter which tense we use. For example, he wanted us to go. He will want us to go. He has wanted us to go. He’s going to want us to go. So, it’s the first verb ‘want’ that dictates the rest of the sentence. In this case, it’s the verb plus the object, plus the infinitive.

That has given you an overview of the different verb patterns in English. Now, it’s important to know that there are no rules that you can memorize to know which verb pattern to use. And, remember, the first verb dictates the pattern of the second verb. My best advice is that you just have to get used to this. You just have to get exposure to using verbs in this way and that’s why it’s so important to learn new words in sentences.

My question for this video is this, “What video do you want me to make next?” What video do you want me to make next? And, as a bonus point, what I want you to do is to leave a comment below using the entire sentence. So, start your sentence with ‘I want’ and then complete the sentence using the correct verb pattern. So, thank you for watching this video and I’ll see you next time.

Infinitive or Gerund and Verb Patterns

If you use two verbs together, the first verb dictates the pattern of the second verb.

For example:

  • I want to go (infinitive)
  • I enjoy going (gerund)

When we use want the second verb is in the infinitive. When we use enjoy the second verb is in the gerund.

There are other cases too:

Verb + Preposition + Gerund

I’m thinking about doing some homework later.

Verb + Object + Bare Infinitive

Our teacher made us do our homework after class

Verb + Object + Infinitive

I want you to do this exercise for homework

(Sorry about the homework examples!)

There are some special cases where we can use both the gerund and the infinitive, but with a change of meaning.

  • I like to play football
  • I like playing football

The second one (gerund) suggests that we do this activity on a regular basis.

Also, see this video for another example of this.

Remember, it’s the same for each tense:

  • He wanted us to go
  • He will want us to go
  • He has wanted us to go
  • He’s going to want us to go

What to Do Now:

1. Answer the question below: What accent do you want to learn/have?
2.
 If you haven’t done so already, download your FREE Guide, and sign up to receive English learning advice from me. Get reading!
3. Click here to ask me a question about learning English.

Thanks for watching/reading!

Get Your Free Book!

If you want to reach a high level of English, you will want this book.

It shows you what you need to do to reach a high level of English.

Click the button, enter your details, and download now.

Download for Free!

5-Step Plan English Fluency Book

  • 1) I want to watch ” To Fluency ” video on contrasting phrases next time as soon as possible .
    2) I want Teacher Jack to make his next video on contrasting phrases as soon as possible .

  • Marie Chourová

    I want you to make your next video about “must” and “have to”. And I want to thank you for Ask Jack, your vlogs, Periscope and your great book.