Tuesday, 8 June 2010

General Grammar Exercises/Gerunds and Infinitives 2


Gerunds and Infinitives 2
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Problem: Students are confused about when to use a gerund or infinitive after certain verbs and expressions. Also, in cases when either a gerund or infinitive can be used, the difference in meaning between the two is not well understood.


Solution
: To tackle the second of these problems, where the meaning can be different depending on whether a gerund or infinitive is used, try the exercise below. Then try to learn the list of important verbs followed by the gerund/infinitive in the reference section. Some advice on memory training techniques is given to help you to do this.





Verbs followed by gerund or infinitive with a change of meaning
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All of the verbs below can correctly be followed by either a gerund or infinitive, but the meaning differs depending on which is used. In the examples, either BOTH SENTENCES ARE CORRECT or BOTH ARE WRONG. In the answer space, simply write "correct" or "incorrect".




1) Remember
I must remember to post Ahmed's birthday card.
I remember promising to buy him a present last week too.

Please write "correct" or incorrect" in the space below.[ANSWER]




2) Stop

On the way to London we stopped having a meal.

I stopped to smoke cigarettes three years ago, and I haven't lit one up since.
[ANSWER] 




 3) Try

If you've got a headache, try to take an aspirin
.

I tried passing my driving test last month, but failed the theory section.
[ANSWER]




4) Mean

Having children means giving up many things.

I didn't mean to sit on your tiny dog!
[ANSWER]




5) Go on

The audience went on to talk all through the comedian's performance.

After his degree course, he went on getting a job in politics.
[ANSWER]






Now scroll down to read the advice section, then decide if you want to change any of your answers...................



[ADVERT]







Hints and clues:






1) I must remember to post Ahmed's birthday card.
....I remember promising to buy him a present last week too.

1) What is the time relationship between "remember" and the verb which follows it? If "remember " happens before the other action, you should use the infinitive. If "remember" happens after the other action you should use the gerund.
[ANSWER]





2) On the way to London we stopped having a meal.
....I stopped to smoke cigarettes three years ago, and I haven't lit one up since.

2) If "stop" means to "not continue", it should be followed by a gerund. If it means "stop what you are doing to do something new", the verb should be in the infinitive. This is actually an infinitive of purpose (see 13 in the reference section below).
[ANSWER] 





3) If you've got a headache, try to take an aspirin.
....I tried passing my driving test last month, but I failed the theory section.

3) If try means "make an experiment to see if it works", you should use a gerund. If it means "attempt something" the infinitive should be used. With the gerund use, there is a suggestion that the thing attempted is difficult, while the infinitive use does not suggest difficulty.
[ANSWER]


 



4) Having children means giving up many things.
....I didn't mean to sit on your tiny dog!

4) If "mean" suggests "involve" or "do what is necessary", it should be followed by the gerund. If it means "intend", it should be followed by the infinitive.
[ANSWER]





5) The audience went on to talk all through the comedian's performance.
....After his degree course, he went on getting a job in politics.
5) If "go on" means "continue", it should be followed by the gerund. If it means "to stop one thing and start another", it should be followed by the infinitive.[ANSWER]







When you've rewritten the sentences, check further down the page to see if they're the same as the suggested answers..............




[ADVERT]





Answers:







1)
I must remember to post Ahmed's birthday card.
I remember promising to buy him a present last week too.
Correct. The verb "regret" behaves in a similar way.




2)
On the way to London we stopped having a meal.
I stopped to smoke cigarettes three years ago, and I haven't lit one up since.

Incorrect. The first sentence should be "stopped to have", and the second "stopped smoking".




3)
If you've got a headache, try to take an aspirin.
I tried passing my driving test last month, but I failed the theory section.

Incorrect. The first sentence should be "try taking", and the second "tried to pass".





4)
Having children means giving up many things.
I didn't mean to sit on your tiny dog!
Correct.



5)
The audience went on to talk all through the comedian's performance.
After his degree course, he went on getting a job in politics.

Incorrect. The first sentence should be "went on talking", and the second "went on to get".








Reference section


Before you try to "memorise" (U.S. spelling "memorize") the following lists, consider these notes on memory training techniques:
Memory note i)
Some verbs or expressions are followed by the gerund and some are followed by the infinitive. Which do you think is more common, verb + gerund or verb + infinitive?

The answer is that there are more verb + infinitive structures. So which should you learn, verb + gerund structures or verb + infinitive? Well, it's easier to learn the shorter gerund list. And then you'll know if a verb isn't one of the gerund structures that you've learned, then it will almost certainly be followed by an infinitive!

Memory note ii)

Look at the list of verbs under 1) Verb + gerund. Look up any you don't know the meaning of. How are you going to learn them? Maybe it helps you to arrange them alphabetically, as they are here. Perhaps more effective is to take a blank sheet of paper and group them with others in the list that they seem to share some qualities with. For example, "admit, deny and suggest" are all likely to be connected with you "saying" something; "consider, fancy and mind" might be thought of as verbs of the "mind"; "enjoy and miss" - emotions? Avoid, finish, practise and risk - personal actions?Then you can put a nice design around the groups and use bright colours to help fix them in your mind. Maybe the "mind" group inside a black head shape, the "emotions" group inside a red heart, and so on.

Move on to number 2) Verb + preposition + gerund. You could just put a "double bubble" with "all phrasal verbs" in it. And maybe two bubbles joined by a little chain for "verbs commonly followed by a preposition". If you need to, you could put an example or two of each of these types inside the bubbles.

Now go on to number
3) Special expressions + gerund and group the other expressions in the gerund list (or add them to existing groups). If you have any left over that you couldn't place, make a group of "things I couldn't place".Please note these are my groups, and if you make your own groups you'll remember them more effectively.

Once you've learned 1,2 and 3, you will know which structures are followed by gerunds. Now you can read 4 - 14 to see the different kinds of infinitive structures which are possible, and to consider the verbs which can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive. There's a lot here, but these are very important structures, and are in everyday use!



1) Verb + gerund:


Example: I don't mind babysitting for you tonight.
The following verbs are often followed by the gerund. Look up the meanings of any you don't know. It will help you to memorise them.

avoid, admit, consider, deny, enjoy, fancy, finish, keep, mind, miss (meaning to want something you no longer have), practise, risk, suggest.


2) Verb + preposition + gerund:

Example: I look forward to hearing from you soon.

give up, look forward to, and all other phrasal verbs or verbs commonly followed by prepositions (such as "accuse of, believe in...").


3) Special expressions + gerund:


Example: I spent four hours learning this grammar.


it's a waste of time, it's no good, it's no use, it's worth, spend time (or money).
Note: There are other uses of the gerund given in Gerunds and Infinitives 1.


4) Verb + infinitive:


Example: Indian food tends to be spicy.


afford, agree, choose, decide, expect, fail, forget, help, hope, learn, manage, offer, prepare, pretend, promise, seem, tend, want.


5) Verb + object + infinitive:


Example: She encouraged her friend to leave her husband.


advise, allow, ask, encourage, force, help, teach, tell, remind, warn.


6) (Modal) verb + infinitive without "to":


Example: "I won't lend him any money!"


can,
could, may, might,
must,
shall,
should,
will, would
.Note 1: "Be able to" can have the same meaning as "can".

Note 2
:
"Have to" can have the same meaning as "must".Note 3: "Ought to" can have the same meaning as "should".


7) Verb + object + infinitive without "to":


Example: "I'll make you love me!"


let, make, help.
Note: "Help" can also be used with "to".


8) Verb + gerund or infinitive with no change in meaning:
Example: He started to laugh... or... He started laughing.

start, begin, commence,
continue.

Note: The first three have the same meaning, but are increasingly formal.



9) Verb + gerund or infinitive with minor change in meaning:Example: She likes dancing... or... "Would you like to dance?".

like, love,
dislike, hate, can't stand, detest, loathe,
prefer.

Note: Can you see which ones mean the same, which ones are more formal, which ones are more extreme?

Note 2: The gerund tends to be used when your meaning is more "general", and the infinitive when your meaning is more "specific".




10) Verb + gerund or infinitive with major change in meaning:


Example: "I'll never forget fishing with my father when I was a boy"... or... "Did you forget to buy fish at the market?"
.
remember, regret,
stop, go on,
try,
mean.

Note: See examples at the top of the page.




#Additional common uses of the infinitive:



11) Verb "to be" + adjective + infinitive:


Example: "I'm pleased to meet you."


pleased, happy, glad, sad, shocked, difficult, easy, etc.


12) Infinitive of purpose:


Example: "I killed my grandmother to inherit her money."


Note: See examples under "photo album" below.
#And finally:



13) Verbs of the senses + object + gerund or infinitive without "to":

Examples: I saw her kiss my husband... or... I saw her kissing my husband.
see, hear, feel.
Note: Look at the example. Which one is a short single action, and which one is a repeated or longer action?




14) Verb "to need" + gerund, infinitive, or passive infinitive:

Example for people: He needed to improve the fluency of his speaking.

Example for things: Your hair needs cutting.

Or

Your hair needs to be cut.

[ADVERT]



Photo Album:








My next door neighbour has used a smoke gun to make his bees sleepy, and now he is inspecting the hive. The hive, or bee house, is specially constructed to collect honey. Today he has a problem, because the queen bee has fallen out and landed on the ground below, where the workers are gathering around her. He needs to get her back into the hive to stop his bees from disappearing.




Grammar note 1: The words in blue are "infinitives of purpose", describing "why something is done", They can be written in the longer form "in order to make, in order to collect, in order to stop".












Do you get it?


Vocabulary note




supper - a late meal or snack before bed

snail - see picture

doormat - small piece of carpet where people wipe their feet before entering the house

a hurt look - how you look when someone has upset or offended you (insulted you, made you feel bad)



A man is sitting eating his supper when there is a knock at the door. He goes to the door and looks around. Seeing no-one he is just turning to go back inside when he sees a snail on the doormat. He picks it up, and, looking around cautiously to check that no-one is watching, he throws it across the road into the neighbour's garden.

Two weeks later he is sitting watching television when he again hears a knock at the door. He goes to the door and again, there's no-one there. But looking down, he sees the same snail sitting on the mat. The snail looks up at him with a hurt look and says, "What the hell was that all about?"




Grammar notes


1. Seeing no-one: This substitutes for "Since he sees..." or "Because he sees...".2. sitting on the mat: This substitutes for "which is sitting...".3. neighbour: U.S. spelling "neighbor"2. "What the hell...": This makes the expression stronger. Other examples:

"Where the hell have you been?"

"Who the hell do you think you are?"
Reality note

I have told this joke twice. Once everybody thought it was hilarious (very funny) and laughed a lot. The second time it was met with absolute silence. Which group did you fall into?

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