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Verbs that Change Meaning with Infinitive or Gerund

Published by My Lingua Academy on

Are you still struggling to remember after which verb or phrase to use an infinitive or gerund? In a small number of cases you can use both infinitive and -ing after some verbs, but did you know that there is a group of verbs that change meaning with infinitive or gerund? In this lesson, we will look at eight such verbs:

  • Remember
  • Forget
  • Regret
  • Go on
  • Need
  • Try
  • Stop
  • Mean


Remember to do
Meaning: Something you want to remember before you do the action.
Ex: Don’t worry, I’ll remember to pick you up on my way to work.

Remember doing
Meaning: Something you remember after you did the action.
Ex: I remember my grandma telling us stories before bed.


Forget to do
Meaning: refers to something you intended to do but didn’t remember.
Ex: I forgot to turn off the light before I left for work.

Forget doing
Meaning: refers to something that you’ve done and you can remember doing it.
Ex: Clive couldn’t forget camping on the Mediterranean coast with his friends last summer.


Regret to do
Meaning: being sorry about something (usually in formal cases).
Ex: We regret to inform you that your application was rejected.

Regret doing
Meaning: you wish you had (not) done something.
Ex: I regret not going to university.


Go on to do
Meaning: two actions are happening one after another.
Ex: After she graduated from college, she went on to work for a newspaper.

Go on doing
Meaning: an action is being continued.
Ex: Even though we couldn’t hear him because of the noise, he went on talking.


Need to do
Meaning: the subject does the action
Ex: I need to clean my apartment.

Need doing
Meaning: there is a passive meaning.
Ex: My apartment needs cleaning.


Try to do
Meaning: make an effort to do something.
Ex: I’ll try to fix it, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to.

Try doing
Meaning: when you experiment with doing something.
Ex: Adam tried adding some salt, but the soup was still bland.


Stop to do
Meaning: interrupt one action in order to do something else.
Ex: I stopped to tie my shoelaces.

Stop doing
Meaning: give up doing something.
Ex: Mildred stopped eating sugar because she wants to lose weight.


Mean to do
Meaning: have an intention to do something.
Ex: I meant to repair my motorbike this afternoon but I changed my mind.

Mean doing
Meaning: something needs to be done in order to get results.
Ex: You haven’t finished your homework yet? It means calling your parents!

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