gerund o infinitivo en inglés B1 y B2

Understanding verb patterns in English

First we need to understand the infinitive and what it is in English.

1. Bare infinitive
Example – play
2. Full infinitive
Example – to play

Some verbs in English always require the following verb to be either 1 or 2 but never both.

Example want, offer, decide to do something.

Verb + object + full/bare inf.
Example tell, ask someone to do something.

Other verbs require an ing verb.
Example – enjoy, detest swimming.

Prepositions also require it.
Example, in, at, on, by etc Crazy about swimming.

Time words such as before or after.

Other verbs can be used with full/bare infinitive or ing
Example – like, love to swim/swimming.

So how can we learn verb patterns?

Easy, Pay attention when doing readings! Write down any verb plus preposition or the form of the verb after the preceding verb, or noun.

Examples – want + to play, depend + on + learning, aware + of + poverty

What is the difference between ing and infinitive?

Again we first need to understand that infinitives represent 3 things in English – reason, purpose, intention. Infinitives do not describe an action in progress or a completed action, merely a fact about an event.

Ing forms represent actions in progress and completed actions.

Verbs like start, stop, begin, finish – words that describe the state of an action/verb can be confusing.

My mum started to dial his number but couldn’t remember it.
No action completed – only intention.

My mum started dialing his number but couldn’t remember it.
No action completed – only intention.

There is no real difference between the sentences.

Why? Because of the verb start. Start always refers forwards to an imminent/future action.


My mum stopped (an unknown action) to speak to her friend (purpose).

My mum stopped speaking (completed action) to her friend.

Totally different – why?

The verb stop tells us that an action finishes – and so usually refers backwards to a previous action, but it can also refer forwards to introduce a future action.

When a verb like stop is followed by the infinitive it tells us the reason/purpose/intention of the next action.

So I know there is a previous unknown, maybe unimportant, action which was interrupted, even if I don’t state it.

When stop is followed by a verb+ing it refers to an ongoing action.

The verb refers backwards or forwards depending on what the writer wants to emphasise or how important different events are.

Pay attention when reading, all patterns are there!