I found a question asking:

Upon leaving, we were shocked to discover/discovering that a mandatory tip of 15 percent was added to our bill.

the answer is "to discover" to explain the reason why they were shocked. My question is why not "discovering?" (as a participle phrase)

I thought adverbial phrase can be changed into participle phrase as in

I went out for a walk after I finished my homework. --> I went out for a walk finishing my homework.

but why not "discovering" in that question above?

please help me.

  • The issue of participle phrases aside, neither the use of discovering nor of finishing are correct. They should be, respectively, something like "We were shocked upon discovering" and "I went out for a walk after finishing my homework." Apr 24, 2018 at 4:52
  • "I went out for a walk having finished my homework" will work.
    – Kris
    Apr 24, 2018 at 5:35
  • The verb "shock" licenses (specifically permits) infinitival clauses as complement, but not gerund-participial ones, so only "shocked to discover ..." is possible.
    – BillJ
    Apr 24, 2018 at 5:56

1 Answer 1


In English, when we want to use two verbs together, we normally put the second verb in the infinitive form. However, not all verbs are followed by the infinitive form of the second verb. Some verbs are followed by the infinitive, some verbs are followed by the gerund, and some verbs are followed by the base form (the infinitive form without to). Also some verbs are followed by both, the gerund and infinitive but the meaning isn`t always the same.

I stopped to smoke; I stopped smoking.

He refused to acknowledge the fact that, he his plan did not come off. She decided to take part in the competition. We`re going to meet him at the airport.

As to your question - I was shocked to discover/realize that...but you could say - I was socked at/upon discovering that...

Infinitives follow certain adjectives in a sentence

Do you think it’s challenging to speak English in front of others? She was nervous to find out about her exam results.

Here is a list of common adjectives that can be used to follow this pattern.

ahead | amazed | anxious | ashamed | bound | careful | certain | challenging | content | delighted | determined | disappointed | eager | fortunate | glad | happy | hesitant | likely | lucky | pleased | proud | ready | reluctant | sad | shocked | sorry | surprised | upset

  • You haven't made it clear whether "shocked" in the OP's example is a verb or an adjective.
    – BillJ
    Apr 24, 2018 at 5:56

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