A few weeks ago I posted a question about the usage of a verbal in a particular sentence. But now, I have another question on the same topic, gerund.

Sometimes I don't know for sure if I need to use the gerund or the infinitive form, so I searched on web to find the answers for my questions; I found this. In this article I found a list of common verbs followed by gerunds and another list of common verbs followed by infinitives.

So, I was wondering if the words that compound one list has some characteristic in common that determine if the following word will be a gerund or an infinitive.

From the referenced PDF file:

1. Following a verb (gerund or infinitive)

Both gerunds and infinitives can replace a noun as the object of a verb. Whether you use a gerund or an infinitive depends on the main verb in the sentence. Consult the lists below to find out which form to use following which verbs.

I expect to have the report done by Friday. [INFINITIVE]

I anticipate having the report done by Friday. [GERUND]

Some common verbs followed by a gerund

(note that phrasal verbs, marked here with *, always fall into this category):

  • acknowledge — She acknowledged receiving assistance.
  • *accuse of — He was accused of smuggling contraband goods.
  • admit — They admitted falsifying the data.
  • advise — The author advises undertaking further study.
  • anticipate — He anticipates having trouble with his supervisor.

Some common verbs followed by an infinitive:

  • afford — We cannot afford to hesitate.
  • agree — The professors agreed to disagree.
  • appear — The results appear to support your theory.
  • arrange — They had arranged to meet at noon.
  • beg — I beg to differ with you.
  • 2
    great article! I don't think there is anything in common between the verbs, tho.
    – cregox
    Commented May 2, 2011 at 20:48
  • 1
    Please make your question self-contained, so that people do not have to click to an off-site PDF file. You should insert an example or two from the document if you want it to be part of the question.
    – Uticensis
    Commented May 2, 2011 at 21:01
  • Related: Gerund or infinitive: When to use which?
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 11:21

1 Answer 1


Here is a long article that goes over a great deal of the use of gerunds vs infinitives and Wikipedia has some information as well. In short, it is not a simple answer, but there are rules to follow, and many instances where both work fine, but the meaning can change depending on which you use. In reference to the list you supplied, verbs of communication (acknowledge, admit, accuse, advise) tend to take the gerund (but not always - advise for example - advised against entering vs advised not to enter). Some just take an infinitive for no real reason other than there had to be a rule to govern them (arrange, afford, appear, agree). Some verbs can take either (love, prefer, like) but the meaning changes drastically (I love boxing vs I love to box).

  • Thank you for your answer! Now understand how it works, but I'll have to work a lot to familiarize myself with the correct use of gerunds with some words.
    – Ed. Brazil
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 12:13

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