Difference between Gerund and Infinitive

Knowing the difference between gerund and infinitive will help you avoid making grammatical errors.

A Gerund is a verb that ends in ‘-ing’ and has the force of a noun and a verb. Hence, it is a ‘double part of speech’ – a noun and verb combined.

Whereas, a verb that is not limited by the tense of the verb or the person and number of the subject is called the Infinitive.

Gerund and Infinitive

Both Gerunds and Infinitives have the ability to act as subjects in sentences as well as the object of verbs.

Difference between Gerund and Infinitive

In Modern Grammar, the difference between the Gerund and Infinitive is not stressed as both of them may be transformed into a Gerund. But an infinitive cannot be the object of a preposition; only gerunds can.

To walk is good exercise.Walking is good exercise.
To find fault is easy.Finding fault is easy.
He likes to play cricket.He likes playing cricket.
Potato chips are good to eat.Potato chips are good for eating.

Examples of Gerund and Infinitive

Examples of Gerund

Talking is discouraged in this camp. Marushka took up singingNagging is something I cannot tolerate. I love sleeping till late in the evening. We forbid you from cheatingRetting is a micro-biological process. At the time of harvesting, plants are cut at or near the ground level.

* In these sentences ‘Talking‘, ‘Singing‘, ‘Nagging‘, ‘Sleeping‘, and ‘Cheating‘ are Gerund.

Examples of Infinitive

To err is human. This work is hard to do. We eat to live. I wish to go there.

In the above examples, to errto doto live, and to go are Infinitives.

Gerund and Infinitive Usage

Gerund Usage

Use 1 – Subject of a Verb

Walking is good exercise.Painting is her hobby.
Reading is necessary for success.Smoking is injurious to health.

Use 2 – Object of a Verb

We enjoyed walking in the morning.I hate smoking
He taught me swimming.Your hair needs cutting.

Use 3 – Complement of a Verb

Seeing is believing.It is a good saying.
His constant habit is sleeping.What he likes best is swimming.
What I detest most is smoking.

Use 4 – Object of a preposition

She is fond of dancing.I am tired of sleeping for hours.
She is interested in collecting stamps.He went on hunting.
She earns her living by selling flowers.She lives on selling flowers.
We cannot live without learning.I think of retiring soon from service.

Use 5 – Being an Object takes an Object

He likes reading novels.She dislikes deceiving people.
The police denied using force.He avoided seeing the manager.

Use 6 – After the preposition ‘To’

I object to doing it. (not ‘ to do ‘ it)
He is accustomed to taking coffee. (not ‘ to take ‘)
I am looking forward to receiving an early reply. (not ‘ to receive ‘)

Use 7 – As a Compound Noun

I have lost my walking-stick.Did you buy a frying-pen?

Use 8 – Possessive case of Nouns and Pronouns before Gerund

I insist on your being present there. (not ‘on you’)
I ask the favor of your granting my prayer. (not ‘of you’)
The teacher was angry at Bithi’s coming late. (not ‘at Bithi’)

Infinitive Usage

Use 1 – As the Subject of a Verb

To steal is a sin.To forgive is divine.
To help the poor is a virtue.To waste time in idle gossiping is foolish.

Use 2- As the Object of a Verb

I like to play games.They tried to win the medals.
I do not mean to read.She does not like to tell a lie.

Use 3 – As the Complement of a Verb

His habit is to rise early.The problem seems to be difficult.
I asked him to shut the door.The window is difficult to open.

Use 4 – As the Object of a Preposition

The patient was about to die.The runners are about to start.
He has no alternative but to go.The sun is about to set.

Use 5 – As the Adjective to Qualify a Noun

There is a lot of work to do.I have some letters to write.
He is a man to be loved.This is not the time to weep.

Use 6 – As an Adverb to Modify a Verb

We eat to live. (purpose)He came to get the job. (purpose)
She wept to see the mishap. (cause)I want to know the ground of his absence. (reason)

Use 7 – As an Adverb to Qualify an Adjective

English is difficult to learn.Sweets are good to eat.
The bird’s music is sweet to hear.You are kind to say so.

Use 8 – As a Part of a Noun Phrase

I told him what to do.He told me where to go.
Tell her when to start.They know where to buy the ticket.

Use 9 – After Preliminary ‘It’

It is wise to rise early.It is foolish to waste time.
It is harmful to smoke cigarettes.It is easy to say, but hard to do.

Use 10 – After ‘too’

I am too tired to work.She is too weak to walk.
He is too ill to sit in bed.The news is too good to be true.

Also, Read

Difference between Homonyms and Homophones

Difference between Homonyms and Homophones

Difference between Preposition and Conjunction

Difference between Prepositions and Conjunctions

will vs going to

Differences Between Will and Going to

State Verbs and Event Verbs

State Verbs and Event Verbs

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