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To-infinitive or -ing form with a change in meaning


Some verbs can be followed by a to-infinitive or the -ing form, but with a change in meaning:

go on    need     remember    try
mean     regret   stop        want

Cambridge Dictionary

So, what is the difference in meaning between the following:

  • I want to sell my products on your website.
  • I want selling my products on your website.
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"Want" can be used to form a concealed passive construction when it means "to need something". This passive construction doesn't need a form of BE but it needs a form of gerund-participle verb. And as always, passives don't take an object, so "selling my products" isn't a correct construction. It should be

My products want(=need) selling(=to be sold) on your website.

But as a rule, want takes to-infinitive when it's used to express a desire.

I want to sell my products on your website.

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To put it simply, the first sentence means you want to sell your products on his website. The second sentence means you don't speak English natively.

If what you want is a verb, the verb should be infinitive: "I want to ---."

A few verbs (as noted, "try" and "remember") can take the gerund, but "want" is not one of those.

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  • Want can take a gerund but better not use one with want. Apr 17 '17 at 5:45

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