For some, playing with the English language may not be your cup of tea, but I love it. One of my favourite parts of speech is the difference of meaning between gerunds and infinitive verb forms.
While some verbs change meaning completely, others remain more or less the same. But knowing which ones change and which ones take on a new sense are not governed by any logical rules, so as usual with English, you just have to know.
Look at these pairs of short sentences and decide if there is a significant difference in meaning. Or is the meaning more or less the same for both phrases?
I like to get up early.
I like getting up early.
She stopped to have lunch.
She stopped having lunch.
I like having coffee at 11 am.
I like to have coffee at 11 am.
I began to read that book last night.
I began reading that book last night.
I remembered to lock the door.
I remember locking the door.
She prefers working in the evenings.
She prefers to work in the evening.
He tried writing a book.
He tried to write a book.
Go on reading the text.
Go on to read the text.
I love reading.
I love to read.
4 thoughts on “Fun With Gerunds and Infinitives”
Hilarious timing, this. My husband joked just yesterday that he couldn’t join in my conversations with my writer friends because we all just talk about adverbs. Even though it was tongue-in-cheek, but I agreed that grammar is more fun to me to discuss than real estate. Thanks Derek for proving my point!
Very cool, you gotta love grammar. You’d enjoy Lynn Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves if you haven’t already.
How about split infinitives, dangling participles and hanging prepositions? All of which sound painful. No wonder writing can be confusing!
Correct Elisabeth. They are painful, but the acceptable rules of grammar change over the years. What was once considered a no no, can be acceptable now. ‘With whom did you go to the cinema?’ corrects the hanging preposition, but is now redundant. So, ‘Who did you go to the cinema with?’ is now correct. Ah grammar!
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