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When should a verb be followed by a gerund instead of an infinitive?

What's the difference between the two:

  • What materials do they prefer working with?
  • What materials do they prefer to work with?
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marked as duplicate by J.R., Mehper C. Palavuzlar, FumbleFingers, jwpat7, Mahnax Aug 30 '12 at 17:14

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Very little if any. Did you think there would be? If so, maybe you should explain why. –  J.R. Aug 29 '12 at 18:58
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Prefer is another mental intention verb, like try, and governs much the same type of complement. –  John Lawler Aug 29 '12 at 20:41
    
@RegDwigнt interesting, I chose to bookmark this duplicate question because it alone has the links to all the relevant non-duplicate questions ;-) –  semantax 8 hours ago

1 Answer 1

There's no difference in meaning. "Prefer to work" sounds very slightly more formal than "Prefer working" and also seems more natural to me, but that's pretty subjective. Either is perfectly valid.

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