Like in the following example:

I would really appreciate having some feedback on this topic.

Why can’t I just write “to have” instead of “having”? In this case, they are not supposed to be interchangeable, but why?

  • 1
    From Gerunds and Infinitives: There are certain verbs that can only be followed by one or the other, and these verbs must be memorized. Many of these verbs are listed below... That webpage certainly looks like a useful resource to me. Jun 6, 2019 at 15:23
  • If you really want to use have instead, you could say I would really appreciate it if I could have some feedback on this topic. (Thereby having it follow a different verb.) Note, however, that you can also simply dispense with to have altogether: I would really appreciate some feedback on this topic. The last is the more idiomatic of the possible constructions. Jun 7, 2019 at 15:04
  • There is some general high theory on the question you have interest in. Though, it is complex and cumbersome, having a lot of special cases and exceptions. The rule of thumb here is that the word combination 'having some feedback on this topic' is a gerund phrase. It functions grammatically as a noun in a sentence. A noun identifies something that could exist before the moment of speaking in such a case, what is not possible for any infinitive in such pattern. The verb 'appreciate' means 'to be grateful' for something that already existed before the moment of speaking.
    – kngram
    Nov 9, 2020 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


I am afraid that, as the EngVid page on Gerunds and Infinitives listed by FumbleFingers says, this is simply an arbitrary rule of usage.

I disagree with a few of the statements on the page. but I agree with its general point nd with most of the specific classifications given there, and i can't advance any systematic criterion for which verbs take an infinitive, which take a gerund, and which can take either. Perhaps there is something in the history of the words or their earlier forms which would make a pattern here.

On specific verbs, the page lists "abhor" as requiring a gerund ("He abhors playing soccer.") but I think it can also, albeit less commonly take an infinitive ("He abhors to use the passive voice.")

"Appear" in the sense "seem to" takes an infinitive "This appears to be a rule without a reason.") but in the sense of "shows up" or "becomes visible" can take a gerund. ("At the start of the show, she appears playing a saxophone in a green costume." "In Hamlet the ghost appears walking the battlements of the castle.")

"Chance" is listed as taking an infinitive, but such a sentence as "I can't chance leaving the problem unsolved." seems perfectly natural to me.

Other disputes over the exact rule for a given verb might be made, but the basic fact is that the rule is specific for each individual verb.

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