I use Grammarly Chrome extension to validate my texts in English. And with some sentences I keep seeing the error message "Infinitive instead of gerund". I'm not sure if this is an appropriate error message, and whether I should I adopt the suggested correction or not.


The initial installation requires to have a certain expertise.

Correction suggested by Grammarly:

Initial installation requires having a certain expertise.

For some reason, I don't like how the suggestion sounds. And I think I met with a similar use of an infinitive used after a verb before.

  • 1
    Doesn't it suggest "The initial installation requires certain expertise"? You should never trust any on-line spell or grammar checkers. They can't tell the difference between to-infinitive and gerund, countable nouns and mass nouns. – user140086 Mar 3 '16 at 11:16
  • Well, I guess I could skip "have" completely in this sentence, but the question remains the same, I often see this kind of suggestions. Well, I should tell that Grammarly helps me avoiding a lot of stupid mistakes. I still use my judgement for less trivial corrections like this one. – csandanov Mar 3 '16 at 11:31
  • 5
    I think my question can be marked as a duplication of english.stackexchange.com/questions/329/… – csandanov Mar 3 '16 at 11:36
  • Some verbs can be followed by an ing-form; others can't. Some can be followed by a to-infinitive; others can't. With some, there's a choice. Look up 'catenation' here and in this Wiktionary article, and 'complement clauses' here. // 'Requires' can be followed by an ing-form, a poss-ing form (requires your having), a N + to-inf (requires you to go), or a that-clause (requires that you go). Not a to-infinitive. But each verb has to be considered separately (eg 'need' behaves differently). – Edwin Ashworth Mar 3 '16 at 11:46
  • 1
    A complication is that the passive construction, which is perfectly acceptable (You are required to go / John is required to take his passport), masks the fact that there is an implied object between 'require' and the to-infinitive (The police require you to go / The authorities require John to take his passport). – Edwin Ashworth Mar 3 '16 at 12:02

Both gerunds and infinitives can be used as the subject or the complement of a sentence. However, as subjects or complements, gerunds usually sound more like normal, spoken English, whereas infinitives sound more abstract. In the following sentences, gerunds sound more natural and would be more common in everyday English. Infinitives emphasize the possibility or potential for something and sound more philosophical. If this sounds confusing, just remember that 90% of the time, you will use a gerund as the subject or complement of a sentence.

Examples: •Learning is important. normal subject •To learn is important. abstract subject - less common •The most important thing is learning. normal complement •The most important thing is to learn. abstract complement - less common

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.