I bought this book titled 2 Hari Taklukan Grammar, written by Edward Rahardian in Bahasa (Indonesian language) and mostly talk about gerund and infinitive. And these are some examples of the gerund sentences that I found.

  1. His mother suggested having lunch before we leave.
  2. I will try studying harder.
  3. The car needs washing.
  4. Your hair needs washing.
  5. My teacher disliked me coming late.

Somehow those words sound unnatural for me because I've never heard those in daily conversations. As a learner, I only get exposed with English by watching TV series and any other entertainment resources.

So in my thought, they sound more natural like this:

  1. His mother suggested to have lunch before we leave.
  2. I will try to study harder.
  3. The car needs to be washed.
  4. Your hair needs to be washed.
  5. My teacher disliked me to come late.

Are those sentences in the first group grammatically correct? And, is it normal for one to say them in normal/daily conversations?

  • Your number 5 is not grammatical. All other eleven sentences are grammatical. Sometimes it is just a matter style or formality. Jul 1, 2017 at 1:46

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, whether to use the gerund or the infinitive after a verb is entirely idiomatic, so the different verbs have to be learned by rote. Some verbs take the gerund only: your numbers 1 and 5 are examples (your change is not something that we would say). Some verbs can take both, with little or no change in meaning: your numbers 2, 3 and 4 are examples.

Some verbs can only take the infinitive: you can't change We decided to go to Chicago to We decided going to Chicago. And then, some verbs have a different meaning when you follow them with the gerund than they have when you follow them with the infinitive. For example:

Joe stopped sleeping.
Joe stopped to sleep.

The first means that Joe woke up. The second means that Joe stopped what he was doing (driving, for example) and went to sleep.

Here is a pretty comprehensive list of each type of verb, with explanations.

  • By you say idiomatic, does that mean we can only find such sentences in formal situation? Or the informal one instead? Because I've never heard one say those in daily conversations.
    – Ivan Di
    Jun 29, 2017 at 10:26
  • @IvanDi No. Here is the definition of idiomatic: "(of a group of words) having a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word considered separately: an idiomatic expression." What I mean to say is that there are no specific rules that you can apply to when it is correct to use the gerund and when it is correct to use the infinitive. You simply have to learn them one at a time. For a little more information, here is a definition for the word idiom.
    – BobRodes
    Jul 7, 2017 at 6:38
  • Ah, okay. Does that mean idiomatic is the same as connotative?
    – Ivan Di
    Jul 7, 2017 at 8:19
  • @IvanDi The words have entirely different meanings. For more on connotative, see this. For more on idiom, see this.
    – BobRodes
    Jul 7, 2017 at 8:34

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