Some verbs are followed by ing, e.g. I enjoy swimming. We can't say I enjoy to swim. Likewise, some verbs are followed by to, e.g. I decided to make a plan.

Which particular verbs are followed by ing and to? Can you please provide a list for that?

Moreover, which verbs can be followed by both without having the meaning changed?


4 Answers 4


You can find such a list, for instance, in the Penguin Handbook.

Note: as of December 2014, the above link does not work.  There is a copy of The Brief Penguin Handbook here; the Verbs Followed by Gerunds or Infinitives section is here.

The only way to know is to memorize which verbs are followed by gerunds and which are followed by infinitives. The relevant categories are:

Verbs Followed by Infinitives

Most verbs are followed by infinitives. If the verb is not found in the list below, it is probably followed by an infinitive.

Verbs Followed by Gerunds

The verbs in the following table all need to be followed by gerunds.

The students don’t enjoy going over the same rules again and again.

  • admit (to)
  • appreciate
  • avoid
  • be accustomed to
  • be used to
  • can’t help
  • consider
  • delay
  • deny
  • discuss
  • dislike
  • enjoy
  • feel like
  • finish
  • get used to
  • imagine
  • keep (on)
  • look forward to
  • (not) mind
  • miss
  • postpone
  • practice
  • put off
  • recommend
  • regret
  • report
  • resent
  • resist
  • risk
  • stop
  • suggest
  • tolerate
  • understand

Verbs Followed by an Object Before the Infinitive Verb

I advise you to go to school early today.

  • advise
  • allow
  • *ask
  • authorize
  • cause
  • challenge
  • convince
  • encourage
  • *expect
  • force
  • get
  • help
  • hire
  • inform
  • instruct
  • invite
  • *need
  • order
  • permit
  • persuade
  • *prepare
  • *promise
  • remind
  • require
  • teach
  • tell
  • train
  • urge
  • *want
  • *warn
  • *would like

*Some words can be used without an object as well as with an object.

I want him to go. I want to go.

Verbs Followed by Either Gerund or Infinitive

Sometimes the meaning changes according to the verb used.

He doesn’t remember giving the homework to Mr. Young.
He didn’t remember to give the homework to Mr. Young.

  • attempt
  • begin
  • can (not) bear
  • can (not) stand
  • continue
  • hate
  • intend
  • (dis)like
  • love
  • neglect
  • prefer
  • remember
  • start
  • try

Verbs Followed Only by the Simple Form (no “-ing” or “to”)

Four verbs are called causative verbs. They are followed by an object; the verb after the object is always in the simple form:

  • let: They let him go on the trip (instead of “let him to go”).

I let him take my book home for one night.

  • make: We made her do her chores first.

I made my sister cry.

  • help: She helped her finish her homework.

I helped him find the bookstore.

  • have: The teacher had him stay after school.

I had my teacher explain the answers.

Verbs Followed by Either the Simple Form or the Gerund (no “to”)

Some verbs are called verbs of perception and are followed by either the simple form or the “-ing” form.

  • see: I see him go.

I see him going.

  • notice: I notice him run to school every day.

I notice him running to school every day.

  • watch: I watch him struggle with his homework.

I watch him struggling with his homework.

  • hear: I hear him sing.

I hear him singing.

Others including: look at, observe, listen to, feel, smell.

  • 9
    Most verbs are not followed by infinitives; most verbs do not take complement clauses at all. What they mean to say is that infinitives are more common than gerunds, which is true, and that there are many more infinitive constructions than gerund constructions, which is also true. But every verb is quite different from every other verb in its affordances, when you get to the details. Lists like this don't really help much, because there are always contextual and idiomatic gotchas. And some people will nevertheless take it as gospel. Feb 22, 2013 at 20:03
  • 2
    I think some of your "gerund verbs" there are actually participles. I'm pretty sure "keep (on) going" doesn't use "going" as a gerund.
    – Joe Z.
    Feb 22, 2013 at 20:47
  • 4
    "to stop" can be followed by both gerund an infinitive. The meaning changes drastically, though.
    – Em1
    Jan 3, 2014 at 10:04
  • 1
    Depends on whether swimming is parsed as a noun (Of the two sports, she prefers Swimming) or a verb (She prefers swimming laps in her own pool). If a verb, it's a clause and needs a subject, which is obviously Equi with a gerund. But nouns don't need subjects or form clauses, so no Equi is necessary; the job is done at a lower level by derivational morphology, i.e. -ing nominalization. Sep 17, 2014 at 15:04
  • 1
    Does anyone have any idea of how inform could be used with an object and an infinitive? I can't really think of a valid example. Feb 24, 2018 at 14:28

Verb + infinitive/gerund is a chapter you find in any grammar of English. Unfortunately grammars only give lists and, of course, these lists can't be complete. If you are in doubt consult a larger dictionary. There you will get information whether a verb is followed by an infinitive or a gerund.

I think grammars should not only give lists, they should try to give an understanding of why a gerund is used and not an infinitive. Grammars are fixated on giving mechanical rules, but they should at least try to give an idea why things are this way.

  • I agree, so the explanation above is not satisfactory.
    – Louis Liu
    Apr 7, 2018 at 16:19
  • For example, you could explain that "I like to swim" implies the subject swims, whereas "I like swimming" can mean the same thing or it can mean that the subject likes to watch the sport.
    – DjinTonic
    Mar 12 at 14:27

Based on my research
Verbs following by both Gerund or Infinitives:

  1. Advise
  2. Allow
  3. Encourage
  4. Permit
  5. Require
  6. Urge.

Verbs following by both Gerund or Infinitives (with different meanings):

  1. Begin
  2. Dread
  3. Forget
  4. Keep
  5. Need
  6. Regret
  7. Remember
  8. Start
  9. Stop
  10. Try

Verbs following by both Gerund or Infinitives (with similar meanings):

  1. Can't bear
  2. Can't stand
  3. Cease
  4. Continue
  5. Hate
  6. Like
  7. Love
  8. Neglect
  9. Prefer
  10. Propose

Sorry if I caused to you all, just want to sharing my idea about my lesson research :)

  • 2
    Welcome to the site. You are answering a rather old question and your answer is not very clear. Can you edit to add an explanation at the start regarding your various lists, perhaps with n example for each?
    – Joffan
    Feb 5, 2015 at 8:15

Although I know a few verbs which must be followed by a gerundive, I have another technique which works very well. When I can say "the fact of", then I have a gerundive. For example: "I like (the fact of) dancING". Moreover all the verbs followed by a preposition (except "but / except") are followed by a gerundive too. Example: He is good at teachING. But you must be careful with "to" to differenciate between "to" as the mark of an infinitive (to work, to play, to write,....) which is not a preposition, so followed by a bare infinitive. And "to" which is a preposition (like at, by, for, etc) and which requires a gerundive. Hope this helps!

  • 1
    I don't understand your advice. The sentence "I like the fact of dancing" makes no sense at all, so how can you use that to determine that "I like dancing" is correct? Dec 27, 2014 at 10:50
  • Welcome to English Language & Usage @Asperine. We're looking for answers with more detail. Your post would be improved if it included a reference and an explanation of why it answers the question. Without references this is just your unsupported opinion.
    – user63230
    Dec 27, 2014 at 11:47
  • 1
    Also, 'gerundive' is a term only accepted by some. Quirk et al postulate an umpteen-point gradience on the noun-verb cline for ing-forms, starting with deverbal nouns (The painting has been stolen) via what many call 'gerunds' (Painting can be therapeutic) ... messy cases (His slowly painting the scene was getting on my nerves) ... all the way to obvious pure verbal forms (He was painting: past participle). Dec 27, 2014 at 11:53
  • And how does “He is good at teachING” help anyone determine how to say “He can’t stop teaching”, “I hired him to teach me”, “I had him teach me”, etc.? This question is about a conjugated verb followed by another verb form, and how to determine the form of the second verb based on which verb precedes it. Dec 29, 2014 at 22:19

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