I've asked this around and I'm RACKING MY BRAIN trying to figure it out.

Which one is the correct verb form in the following sentence?

The craziest thing I've ever done is go / to go / going scubadiving in Belize

Some people say that both the to + verb and the ing forms are correct, because you need a noun there and the bare form is a verb; other people say only the to + verb is the correct one here, because the ing form only applies when you reverse the sentence (going scubadiving is yadda yadda) and not when you place the subject in the end.

I know many people would use the bare infinitive to be quicker while speaking, but that just sounds wrong to my ears as it's a verb!

Can you please tell me, once and for all, which is the correct verb form?

  • I think this would be better asked on our sister site, English Language Learners.
    – Dan Bron
    Mar 20, 2016 at 21:52
  • Mostly because they're better at explaining this kind of stuff in an accessible way. We have people here too, and you'll get an answer, but you'll get more and faster answers there. That's all. This site tends to focus on the more abstract and theoretical (i.e. nerdier) aspects of English. But no matter, if you want to keep it here, that's fine by me, I won't get in your way.
    – Dan Bron
    Mar 20, 2016 at 21:57
  • @DanBron: It's now been cross-posted. Mar 20, 2016 at 22:02
  • @LaviniaRaspelli It takes time for SE to delete an account. So, in the meantime, however you are viewing the site, close that view.
    – Dan Bron
    Mar 21, 2016 at 0:48

1 Answer 1


The answer here is "go". Consider the sentence...

The craziest thing I've ever done is ...

Progressive Usage

The conjugation, "going" is considered progressive/continuous. In your sentence, you are not in the process of scuba-diving in Belize. Or giving a specific description of what it's like scuba-diving in Belize. So you want to cross this one off and not use it.

Infinitive Redundancy

Now... We consider using "to go". Hmm... Well isn't that just the infinitive of "go"? Yes, so in this case remove the redundant "to" What are we left with now? Go.

Infinitive Usage

We will use go here. We are not interested in describing what scuba-diving in Belize was like (within this exact sentence). We are only saying that... It happened.

  • @LaviniaRaspelli take a gander at oxforddictionaries.com/words/verb-tenses-adding-ed-and-ing
    – Snoop
    Mar 20, 2016 at 23:53
  • @LaviniaRaspelli you are confusing infinitive verbs with indefinite pronouns... chompchomp.com/terms/nounphrase.htm
    – Snoop
    Mar 20, 2016 at 23:58
  • 1
    The reasoning for avoiding the to-infinitive is unsound. "[The only] solution is to lower the standards" is idiomatic (98 200 Google hits for the 6-word string), whereas "[The only] solution is lower the standards" is not (1 Google hit for the 5-word string). With OP's example, there are 28 500 Google hits for "ever done is go" (showing that it is acceptable, I'd say) but 391 000 Google hits for "ever done is to go" (showing that this is the preferred option). Mar 21, 2016 at 0:25
  • 1
    The reason I commented was because I was at least as happy with 'The craziest thing I've ever done is to go scuba diving in Belize' than with The craziest thing I've ever done is go scuba diving in Belize'. And the Google results would seem to go further in showing the preferred variant. // Many contributors to ELU could say 'I am a native English speaker with a lot of language experience'. But most of us have come to understand that this is not usually adequate authority. Mar 21, 2016 at 0:37
  • 1
    "My favorite exercise is swimming." is fine.  "My favorite exercise is to swim." is awkward.  "My favorite exercise is swim." is just plain wrong. Mar 21, 2016 at 0:56

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