1
  1. to turn it on is forbidden
  2. turning it on is forbidden

I always have troubles when I have to use infinite forms of verbs. In particular like in this example, where a verb describes something more in the next sentence.

I mean when a verb is the subject of a sentence, i.e.: "Walking is healthy" vs "To walk is healthy". I seem to hear more the first version, but some times I wonder if the -ing form is always the correct way.

  • What did you mean by "where a verb describes something more in the next sentence."? Can you explain a wee bit more? – Varun Nair Aug 26 '16 at 13:09
  • @Varun KN Sure. Like when a verb is the subject of a sentence, i.e.: "Walking is healthy" vs "To walk is healthy". I seem to hear more the first version, but some times I wonder if the -ing form is always the correct way. – nevetz1911 Aug 26 '16 at 13:17
0

Active things (walking, running, climbing) have a very strong association between the gerund and the activity itself.

Smoking is (for some reason) regarded as an activity, so "Smoking is forbidden" is the idiomatic way of expressing it.

With turning something on or off, we are more interested in the state on or off, rather than the activity turn on, turn off, so an instruction would more likely be written like this:

This X must be turned off [at all times].

Using an infinitive in this kind of sentence lends it a rather formal air, as in this quote:

to err is human, to forgive is divine Alexander Pope

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.