Gerund and infinitives with advise, allow and permit

August 7, 2012pdf

Some verbs and adjectives can be followed by a gerund or an infinitive. Sometimes there is a difference of meaning.

Gerunds and infinitives with advise, allow, permit and forbid

All four of these verbs can be followed by either an –ing form or an infinitive. There is no difference of meaning, but the structures are different.

These verbs are followed by –ing forms if there is no object. If there is an object, we use an infinitive.

  • I wouldn’t advise buying a used car. (NOT I wouldn’t advise to buy a used car.)

Here the –ing form is used because the verb advise has no object.

  • I wouldn’t advise you to buy a used car. (NOT I wouldn’t advise you buying a used car.)
  • The college doesn’t allow / permit smoking on the campus. (NOT The college doesn’t allow / permit to smoke on the campus.)
  • The college doesn’t allow / permit students to smoke on the campus. (Here the infinitive to smoke is used because the verbs allow / permit has an object.)

These structures can be changed into the passive. Study the examples given below.

  • Buying a used car is not advised. (Here the –ing form becomes the subject of the passive verb.)
  • Smoking is not permitted on the campus. (Here again the –ing form becomes the subject of the passive verb.)

Now study the passive forms of the infinitive structures.

  • You are not advised to buy a used car.
  • Students are not allowed to smoke on the campus.

As you can see, it is the personal objects and not the infinitives that become the subject of the passive verb.

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