Take a look at this sentences:

1 I usually try not BE so rude.

2 I usually try not TO be so rude.

3 I usually try not BEING so rude .

4 All I need is TAKE a rest .

5 All I need is TO take a rest.

6 All I need is TAKING a rest.

Which of these sentences are ok?

Is there a rule for that?

My English teacher has given me some very very ambiguous answers.

1 Answer 1


The rule is that verb in the main clause—try, need—determines what form its complements take.

Need takes marked infinitival complements—that is, clauses headed by a verb in the infinitive marked with to:

I need to work harder.
All I need is to work harder.

Try takes two sorts of complements.

  1. In the sense you probably intend, “attempt”, as when you attempt some action without being certain you can do it, try takes marked infinitival complements:

    I will try to work harder.
    I usually try not to be rude.
    I usually try to be polite.

  2. Try has another sense, however: “test”,as when you try some action or approach to see if it is effective in reaching some other goal. In this case, try takes gerund-participle complements, headed by a verb in the -ing form:

    I can’t get the ketchup out of this bottle. I’m going to try heating it for a few seconds in the microwave.
    This doesn’t work. Let’s try using the Schwartz-Metterklume method; some people have had great success with that.

There is no more general rule—you have to learn what complements any particular verb takes one-by-one.

  • So ," All I risked was losing a couple of dollars" "what we anticipated was having a hundred guests" " the only thing I enjoyed was watching the birds" "all I want is to be with you" " all I need is to have a car " are grammatically correct and common sentences?
    – juan
    Aug 9, 2017 at 3:00

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