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.

"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.


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.

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

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