infinitve - gerund - difference

Infinitiv and gerund are sentence structures that in other languages are formed by sub-clauses. Often times it is very difficult to transfer them literally into another language.


certain verbs require to be followed by a gerund as an object.

verbs of liking and not likingverbs of beginning and stoppingother verbs
like doingbegin doingavoid doing
love doingstart doingimagine doing
prefer doingcarry on doingpractise doing
(not) mind doingcontinue doingrisk doing
hate doinggive up doingsuggest doing

like, love hate, prefer use optinally gerund or der to- infinitive
would like, love hate, prefer is to be followed by to-infinitive only.

I love drinking lemonade.
I would love to drink a lemonade.

➔ Verbs of beginning optinally use to-infintive as well as gerund.
However, to-infinitiv relates to a short one-off action, gerund to one of longer duration .

to infinitive

➔ the following verbs are used only followed by to-infinitve :


He hoped to marry her.
She cannot afford to lose the customer.
We refuse to work on Sunday.

gerund after prepositions

➔ If a verb is used after an expression requiring a preposition, it needs to be as a gerund.

apologize for doing something
look forward to doing something
be against doing something
speak about doing something
be used to doing something
thank somebody for doing something
sich bei jemandem bedanken
dream of/about doing something /
von etwas träumen
think of/about doing something /
feel like doing something
worry about doing something

gerund – to infinitive – shift in meaning

Some verbs change between gerund and to-infinitive and according to context also change their meaning. As a rule-of-thumb, to-infinitve relates to a one-time-action while gerund is used more in connection with a recurring action.

to stop to smoke
for a break
stop smoking
quit smoking comletely
not to forget to do something
as a
I will never forget kissing my girlfriend for the first time.
He tried to phone you.
one time
He tried giving up smoking.
several attempts
I regret to inform you.
to regret in context of a certain occasion

I regret not studying.
regretting something generally
go on to read the text
earlier you did something else
go on reading the text
continue (you were just reading the text)

gerund – to infinitive – difference - exersises