Curso First Certificate Exam



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The -ing form or the infinitive







It is important to remark that this grammar continues the work done on the -ING form in Unit 12 Lesson 46, and on the infinitive in Unit 13 Lesson 50.

Some verbs can be followed by another verb in the -ING form, or by the 'to' infinitive. With some of these verbs there is no difference in meaning, whichever structure you choose, but with other verbs there is a change in meaning.


Remember these five grammar tips:


Some verbs which can be followed by either structure with no change in meaning are begin, continue, hate, like, love, prefer, and start:

Pigs that like to eat are contented.
They do not like drinking water that is dirty.



PLEASE NOTE: Only the to infinitive (not the -ing form), is possible in these two sentences:

Would you like to go on an African safari?
I'd prefer to study the animals in Australia.

Why? The pattern would + hate/like/love/prefer is always followed by the to infinitive (not the -ing form). This form is used when expressing the idea of liking, etc. on a specific occasion.



We can say either:

Please help save the panda from extinction.  
or ...    
Please help to save the panda.

PLEASE NOTE: After the expression can't help you must use an -ing form:

I can't help laughing at his jokes.



After make in the active we use the infinitive without to:

The zoo keeper made the chimpanzees do tricks.

But, pay attention to what we use after make in the passive:

The chimpanzees were made to do tricks.



PLEASE NOTE: There are two ways of making this type of sentence passive: 'You need to brush the dog' .

The dog needs brushing.
or ...    
The dog needs
to be brushed.



Remember these three grammar tips:


If we use the -ing form after verbs like see, hear, watch, we show that the action continued happening for some time:

I once watched a bear eating something inside my tent.

If we use the infinitive without to, we show that the action was short and completed:

I heard the bear grunt when it found some biscuits.



Now let us check the meanings of these two patterns using remember:

a) The pattern remember + -ing form means "have a picture of something you did in the past in your memory":

I remember camping in the Yellowstone National Park.
I remember seeing a grizzly bear for the first time.

b) The pattern remember + to + infinitive means "do something you have intended to do":

I didn't remember to lock all my food in the car boot.
I didn't remember to take the lens cap off my camera.



Now let us check the meanings of these two patterns using stop:

a) In this first example, the pattern stop + -ing form means "didn't breathe for a second":

I stopped breathing for a second, but the bear didn't notice me.

b) In this second example, the pattern stop + to + infinitive means "stopped in order to listen":

I sneezed and the bear stopped to listen.

On the next page you can practise the above grammar tips.


Muy interesantes sus explicaciones, Mr. Grammar
[ ¡¡¡ Pero cuánto hay que recordar !!! ] 

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