1. She refused to pay the penalty.
  2. She refused paying the penalty

What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences?

  • 2
    The first one is right. The second is wrong. No idea why, I'm just a native English speaker.
    – codi6
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 6:06
  • To refuse a payment is to refuse to accept it.
    – Peter
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 6:22

1 Answer 1


refuse in this context means to express a determination not to (do something).

Therefore the structure refuse to + infinitive is needed. (e.g. I refuse to go to school)

For more information on this structure and on the usage of gerund have a look at this:

  • When you copy wording from somewhere (in this case the definition "to express a determination not to (do something)"), you need to indicate that it's copied and where it came from. Please edit.
    – Laurel
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 21:29

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