I always thought that when a person wants something done by another person, I use the infiitive after the object pronoun. But in the 16th episode of the 7th episode of Friends Ross use used a gerund. Here it is:

Ross: I will be! Listen, I don’t want you teaching my son that stuff anymore. Okay?

Would the meaning somehow change if he said I don't want you to teach...?

1 Answer 1


If compared, both of the sentences have a slightly different meaning.

a to-infinitive along with "want", an intention verb, would suggest that a person wants another person to do something in the future, while an -ing would emphasize that someone wants somebody to continue or stop doing something which depends upon whether you use a negative or affirmative auxiliary.


I don 't want you teaching my son that stuff [anymore/ever again]. ( " The end position adverbs certainly imply that the speaker wants you to stop teaching her son [ since you have probably been teaching him for a long while ] );


I don 't want you to teach my son that stuff [ever]. ( "implies a future event" );

Furthermore, we can use the past participle after an object. e.g.

I want the job finished by tomorrow!

You don't want him dead seeing that his parents will come after you.

  • Thank you for the answer! Could you tell me if it work wih the verb "believe"? For example: "I don't want you believing in such stuff." Jun 17, 2020 at 22:51
  • The same applies for any verb followed by "want" verb
    – Alex TheBN
    Jun 18, 2020 at 16:56
  • 1
    It's a very interesting concept. I wonder what other natives think. I also wonder if it's impossible or incorrect to sat "I don't want you to teach me..." meaning that the teaching is up and running. It feels that it's also possible.
    – user1425
    Mar 24, 2021 at 15:48
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    @user1425 Absolutely. It was hard to split hairs. I agree with you - it could mean that too. It really depends on the approach sometimes. People would prefer to say one over another. I wasn't paying much attention to every possible interpretation but thx for your feedback.
    – Alex TheBN
    Mar 24, 2021 at 15:54

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