In my previous post, we learned about the basics of gerunds and infinitives.
But now I want to get into some subtleties. I want to talk about when some verbs are followed by gerunds AND infinitives, but with a significant change in meaning. The examples used here are the most commonly used words.
Forget + gerund - The gerund action comes before the verb forget.
I forgot picking up my dry cleaning. - I picked up my clothing but then I forgot.
Forget + infinitive - The verb forget happens before the infinitive action.
I forgot to pick up my dry cleaning. - I forgot that I had dry cleaning to pick up.
Stop + gerund - To no longer perform an action.
I must stop buying shoes. - I need to refrain from doing this.
Stop + infinitive - To stop one action in order to perform another.
I must stop to buy shoes. I need to stop whatever I’m doing so I can buy some shoes.
Regret + gerund - Feeling bad about something that already happened.
I regret telling you the truth. I told someone the truth first and now I regret it.
Regret + infinitive - Feeling bad about something in the present or the future.
I regret to tell you the truth. I regret now that a future action has to happen.
Try + gerund - Experimenting/testing an action to see if it achieves a desired result.
My back is sore. I’ll try doing some stretches. - I’ll see if stretching will help heal my back.
Try + infinitive - Performing an action that might be a challenge or difficult.
My back is sore. I’ll try to do some stretches. - I’m not sure if I can stretch.
Bonus learning: [Try + and] is a grammatically incorrect structure, though often used.
The correct structure is [try + to]