Some verbs such as advise, recommend, permit, allow, require, forbid are used in sentences either gerund or infinitive. For instance,

The plumber recommended buying a new water heater.

The plumber recommended me to buy a new water heater.

I wonder that in the second sentence, is it appropriate to use the gerund form (buying) instead of the infinitive.

What about other verbs?

The rules do not permit keeping pets on the premises.

The rules do not permit tenants to keep pets on the premises.

  • I suggest "The plumber recommended [to me] that I buy a new water heater" (or perhaps "... recommended that I should buy..."), and "The rules do not allow tenants to keep pets on the premises", as being clearer than the four examples given. In both these cases, I recommend against the gerund (-ing verb form), but I daresay there are examples where the gerund would be preferable.
    – tautophile
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 16:33
  • 3
    Note that the structure is different in these examples. The ones given with infinitives are preceded by subject NPs and the ones given with gerunds are not. Those are very different constructions with very different and quite complex rules. Like Equi and Raising, for instance. Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 16:41
  • 2
    "Recommend" can be used with a gerund-participial complement, as in "I don't recommend you/your buying a new water heater". "Permit" occurs in complex catenatives with infinitival complements, but not gerund-participial ones, so your fourth example is fine.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 17:19
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but "The plumber recommended me to..." is not grammatically correct. "Advised me to" would be better. Either way, the gerund is more commonplace for that one.
    – Al-Sabti
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 2:46
  • @Al-Sabti Technically, "recommended me to" is valid in some cases. It just has a very different meaning. (Instead of "He advised me to", "recommended me to" means "He advised that someone else select me". For example "One of my previous customers recommended me to Jacob.")
    – ssokolow
    Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 7:45

1 Answer 1


If the person concerned is mentioned we use the infinitive:

  1. He recommends somebody to do something

If the person is not mentioned gerund is used

  • He recommends to buy a new hot water heater.. Why would you suggest this as a rule?
    – David M
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 20:25

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