15.4. Grammar.

Gerund and infinitive with a change of meaning.



Which are the verbs that can be followed by another verb in the gerund or infinitive form? Which are possible with both the gerund and the infinitive? You can refer to chapter one, if you have forgotten. Which verbs have a change of meaning depending on if they are followed by the gerund or the infinitive? (Refer to chapter one for your list of gerunds or infinitives.)


The verbs that can be followed by either gerund or infinitive with little or no change of meaning are: start, prefer, begin, continue, like, hate, love etc. What is important is that a very limited number of verbs completely change meaning in the gerund and infinitive forms.


They are: STOP, REMEMBER, FORGET, REGRET, TRY, and MEAN. In the first four of these examples what is important is which action happens first. If they are followed by the gerund, then the second verb is the first action. ‘I remember going to bank,’ shows that the first action was ‘go’ and the second ‘remember’. So, ‘I remembered to go to the bank,’ means ‘I remembered’ first, and then I went to the bank.


TRY and MEAN don’t follow this rule. ‘To try to do something’ means ‘to attempt’ or ‘to make an effort’, the result of which is usually unsuccessful. Therefore you haven’t completed the action. ‘To try doing something’ is to actually complete the action, but not necessarily get the desired result. It’s meaning is therefore ‘to experiment with’. ‘Mean’ plus gerund is ‘to involve’ or ‘to include’; with the infinitive, it is ‘to have the intention’. See and 15.7. for more examples.