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Gerund and Infinitives

We use gerunds (verb + ing):

  • After certain verbs – I enjoy singing
  • After prepositions – I drank a cup of coffee before leaving
  • As the subject or object of a sentence – Swimming is good exercise

We use ‘to’ + infinitive:

  • After certain verbs – We decided to leave
  • After many adjectives – It’s difficult to get up early
  • – I came to London to study English

We use the bare infinitive (the infinitive without ‘to’):

  • After modal verbs – I can meet you at six o’clock
  • After ‘let’, ‘make’ and (sometimes) ‘help’ – The teacher let us leave early
  • After some verbs of perception (see, watch, hear, notice, feel, sense) – I watched her walk away
  • After expressions with ‘why’ – why go out the night before an exam?