Gerunds are words made from verbs that function as nouns in a sentence. Although many people are unfamiliar with the term “gerund,” a gerund is very easy to spot. The main reason they are so easy to spot is because all gerunds end with “-ing.” There is no exception to this rule. Simple examples of gerunds could include “swimming,” “dreaming,” and “doing.”
Infinitives, on the other hand, are formed of the word “to” plus a verb. This does not make them verbs, however. Infinitives could be nouns, just like gerunds. Unlike gerunds, infinitives can be used as adverbs or adjectives. Some simple examples of infinitives include “to look,” “to sleep,” and “to swim.”
Now that we’ve covered the basics of gerunds and infinitives, we can move on to a more difficult topic. In many sentences, writers find it difficult to decide whether or not a verb should be followed by a gerund or an infinitive. Unfortunately, the only real way to be sure is to either memorize a list of verbs that take gerunds, or to have that list by your side at all times.
A list put out by Penguin Group shows all of the verbs that always take gerunds. This list includes: “appreciate,” “avoid,” “can’t help.” “consider,” “delay,” “enjoy,” “feel like,” “imagine,” “miss,” “recommend,” “regret,” “report,” “resist,” “risk,” “stop,” “tolerate,” and “understand.” There are many more verbs, but these are a few of the most common. Again, these verbs will always be followed by a gerund.
Some verbs that can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive include “attempt,” “begin,” “continue,” “hate,” “intend,” “love,” “prefer,” “remember,” “start,” and “try.”
There are other verbs that only take the simple form of an infinitive. A simple form just means you get rid of the “to.” Some of these verbs include “let,” “make,” “help,” and “have.”
Another group of verbs can be followed by either a gerund or a simple form. These include “see,” “notice,” “watch,” and “hear.”
For a full list of these verbs, writers can follow this link. This will show the complete list of verbs that take gerunds. Plus, writers will find a boatload of examples and many other lists of verbs that always take either infinitives or simple forms.