Verbs that can be followed by infinitives

March 3, 2011pdf

Many non-auxiliary verbs can be followed by infinitives.

  • It is going to rain.
  • I don’t want to see him again.
  • I expect to start in the evening.
  • Your hair needs to be cut.
  • The roof needs to be repaired.

Common verbs that can be followed by infinitives are:

Afford, agree, appear, arrange, ask, attempt, beg, begin, care, choose, consent, continue, dare, decide, expect, fail, forget, happen, hate, help, hesitate, hope, intend, learn, like, love, manage, mean, neglect, offer, prefer, prepare, pretend, promise, propose, refuse, regret, remember, seem, start, trouble, try, want, wish.

Some of these verbs can be followed by object + infinitive.

  • I want him to study medicine.
  • I expect them to reach in time.
  • He asked me to leave.

Some of these verbs can also be followed by –ing forms. Compare:

  • She loves knitting sweaters.
  • She loves to knit sweaters.

Sometimes there is a difference of meaning.

Compare:

  • She loves singing. (A general statement about her likes.)
  • She loves to sing this song with me. (A more definite statement about a particular occasion)
  • You must remember writing to her six months ago. (Here the gerund refers to an action that happened in the past.)
  • You must remember to write to her tomorrow. (Here the infinitive refers to an action that is going to take place in the future.)
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