Why does the verb "continue" take the infinitive form sometimes instead of the gerund form in its progressive form?:

-I continue to love my wife.

-She continues to study at the same college.

Is there another verb which occupies this same special structure?

  • 1
    Maybe because continue is, by definition, progressive, even when it's used in a simple tense. Check out stative verbs. learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/quick-grammar/stative-verbs
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 10, 2017 at 16:30
  • 1
    I think you mean simple present, not infinitive. "I continue" and "she continues" are just the simple present.
    – stangdon
    Apr 10, 2017 at 17:21
  • 2
    I think that's similar to many other verbs like "start", "leave", ... . These verbs allow both infinitives and present participle. In other words, I do not see any irregularity.
    – Cardinal
    Apr 10, 2017 at 17:33
  • 2
    Which verbs allow a gerund (I finished working at noon) and which do not requires practice. That said, the verb continue sometimes does and sometimes does not: He continued speaking after his lesson. He continued to speak after his lesson. The verbs start and begin can also take both. There is a technical difference in meaning but not a practical one. (The linguistic difference has not been well explained by English-speaking grammarians though the difference has been explained by a French grammarian, specializing in English).
    – Lambie
    Apr 10, 2017 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


You can use either a to-infinitive or an -ing form immediately after the verb continue, without any difference in meaning. For example:

Do you plan to contine working after the baby is born? = Do you plan to continue to work after the baby is born? (Merriam-Webster Learner's)

The use of the to-infinitive is a bit more common.

There are many other words that can take either a to-infinitive or an -ing form, such as start, begin, intend, like love, hate.

  • 1
    Actually, there is a difference in meaning but English-speaking grammarians don't deal with it.
    – Lambie
    Apr 10, 2017 at 18:55
  • 1
    "Do you plan to continue to work on loving to hate working after the baby is born?"
    – Stew C
    Apr 10, 2017 at 20:48

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