Adapted from English Grammar Online 4U.
There are certain words in English that are usually followed by an infinitive or gerund. If you are not sure whether to use the infinitive or gerund, check out our lists or look the words up in a dictionary.
InfinitivesCertain words are followed by an infinite verb with or without to.
- As the subject of a clause.
- Followed by the verbs be, seem or appear.
- To know you is to love you.
- After had better, would rather, would sooner, why not, why should I/you/... not.
- "Why not go to the cinema?" "I think I would rather stay home tonight."
- can, do, let, may, must, should, will, help.
- I can swim.
- With verbs such as afford, agree, aim, appear, arrange, attempt, be determined, beg, care, choose, claim, condescend, consent, decide, demand, deserve, determine, expect, fail, guarantee, happen, have, help, hope, manage, need, offer, plan, pretend, promise, refuse, seem, stop, want, would hate, would like.
- She wants to see you before you leave the office.
- After the verbs ask, advise (+ Object), consider, decide, explain, find out, forget, know, learn, remember, see, show, teach, tell (+ object), understand wonder.
- They don't know how to swim.
- After make and let.
- He made her finish the lesson before she could leave.
- After the verbs advise, allow, ask, beg, cause, enable, encourage, expect, forbid, force, get, help, invite, mean, order, permit, persuade, recommend, remind, teach, tell, want, warn, would hate, would like, would love, would prefer.
- They wanted us to stay, but it was already too late.
- After these adjectives: amazed, amazing, angry, astonished, astonishing, awkward, brave, careless, clever, cowardly, crazy, , delighted, difficult, disappointed, disgusted, easy, extraordinary, funny, generous, glad, happy, hard, honest, horrified, impossible, kind, nice, odd, pointless, relieved, ridiculous, rude, sad, selfish, silly, sorry, strange, stupid, surprised, wicked, wise.
- It was impossible to go back.
- After the nouns effort, agreement, aim, appearance, arrangement, attempt, choice, claim, decision, determination, expectation, failure, guarantee, hesitation, hope, longing, need, neglect, offer, plan, preparation, procedure, promise, refusal, resolution, tendency, threat, trouble, try
- We couldn't turn down the offer to stay at his beach house that weekend.