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Verbs that Change Meaning with Infinitive or Gerund

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


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.

Verbs that Change Meaning with Infinitive or Gerund


FORGET


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


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.

Verbs that Change Meaning with Infinitive or Gerund


GO ON


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


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.

Verbs that Change Meaning with Infinitive or Gerund


TRY


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


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.

Verbs that Change Meaning with Infinitive or Gerund


MEAN


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!

 Verbs that change meaning with infinitive or gerund
Verbs that change meaning with infinitive or gerund

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