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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
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1 Answer

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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