I've come across these sentence written by English novelists by googling. (I've confirmed that they're English native speakers by googling their names)

  1. After a while, finding that nothing more happened, she decided going into the garden at once.

  2. I decided going into my white room.

But I've already learnt that when I want to use "decide" with "gerund", I must write it with "on" as in "I decided on going into my white house", but as I don't think this seems to be not entirely correct as I've come across exceptions to this, I wouldn't think they might've written grammatically incorrect sentences as they're experts at writing books.

  • Neither of your example sentences is complete. You need to add something like was a good idea to the end. Commented May 14, 2019 at 18:08
  • @JasosnBassford then, you think the authors must have omitted something in both sentences on purpose?
    – GKK
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 18:15
  • I have no idea. It could have just been a mistake. The use of the gerund itself isn't wrong—but neither of these sentences uses it correctly. Commented May 14, 2019 at 18:17
  • 2
    @Floret In the first one, which is from Alice in Wonderland, it's "decided on going"--you've omitted the "on" which you can see at section 12 in this link.
    – Katy
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 18:17
  • 2
    The second sentence appares to be from Paranoid Lost by Greg Bauder, and I found it on page 86 of the edition in Google Books. I had never before heard of this book or author. I see no obvious reason for the absence of "on" here, and I suspect a mistake, whether by author, editor, or publisher I have no way to know. Commented May 14, 2019 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


"Decide" does not take a gerund as its direct object. It can take a "to infinitive".

The first example you give is simple error in the quoted source. The original has "decided on going into the garden". Unlike "decide", the phrasal verb "decide on" can be followed by a gerund.

The second may be an error (of the author, publisher or printer). It could be interpreted as a participle phrase, mean "While I was going into my white room, I decided (something)". That interpretation is possible, but unlikely. It would not be a well-written sentence (due to the confusion with a gerund), therefore I think that an error is more likely, and the author intended "decided on...".

Native speakers do learn which verbs take a gerund, which take an infinitive, which can take both, and which take either but with a different meaning. It is part of the learning that takes place during the hours and hours that an infant spends listening to its parents and then to its friends. There are aspects of your language that are just as difficult for English speakers to learn!

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