English isn't my mother tongue. I'm familiar with the notions of infinitive and gerund but I sometimes just don't know which of the two should be used in combination with which verb.

Thomson and Martinet [1986] provide some verbs that may take either infinitive or gerund without changing the meaning (advise, allow, ...).

I am looking for a list of verbs and the allowed construction (gerund/infinitive/both). Ideally this should be a text-based list so I can search it on my computer without having to use the internet.

[Thomson and Martinet, 1986] A. J. Thomson and A. V. Martinet, A Practical English Grammar, Oxford University Press, isbn: 0-19-431342-5, 1986.

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    To those contemplating closevoting: there is considerable sentiment for allowing questions of this sort; so I suggest withholding your closevote until the matter is resolved. Feb 21, 2013 at 16:43
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    @StoneyB Might want to deal with the same issue here: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/2931/…
    – MetaEd
    Feb 21, 2013 at 17:10
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    @StoneyB: I agree, I think this question is fine. In fact, we have a similar question EL&U somewhere, if only I could find it...
    – Cerberus
    Feb 21, 2013 at 17:48
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    The question When should a verb be followed by a gerund instead of an infinitive? on English Language and Usage is what you need. The first answer contains lists.
    – Cerberus
    Feb 21, 2013 at 17:52
  • @Cerberus Would you consider posting your comment as an answer, as it solved the OP's problem (and doing so would remove this question from the Unanswered Questions list?).
    – WendiKidd
    Mar 6, 2013 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


The question When should a verb be followed by a gerund instead of an infinitive? on English Language and Usage is what you need. The first answer contains lists, which I'll reproduce here

There is a copy of The Brief Penguin Handbook here; the Verbs Followed by Gerunds or Infinitives section is here.

The only way to know is to memorize which verbs are followed by gerunds and which are followed by infinitives. The relevant categories are:

Verbs Followed by Infinitives

Most verbs are followed by infinitives. If the verb is not found in the list below, it is probably followed by an infinitive.

Verbs Followed by Gerunds

The verbs in the following table all need to be followed by gerunds.

The students don’t enjoy going over the same rules again and again.

  • admit (to)
  • appreciate
  • avoid
  • be accustomed to
  • be used to
  • can’t help
  • consider
  • delay
  • deny
  • discuss
  • dislike
  • enjoy
  • feel like
  • finish
  • get used to
  • imagine
  • keep (on)
  • look forward to
  • (not) mind
  • miss
  • postpone
  • practice
  • put off
  • recommend
  • regret
  • report
  • resent
  • resist
  • risk
  • stop
  • suggest
  • tolerate
  • understand

Verbs Followed by an Object Before the Infinitive Verb

I advise you to go to school early today.

  • advise
  • allow
  • *ask
  • authorize
  • cause
  • challenge
  • convince
  • encourage
  • *expect
  • force
  • get
  • help
  • hire
  • inform
  • instruct
  • invite
  • *need
  • order
  • permit
  • persuade
  • *prepare
  • *promise
  • remind
  • require
  • teach
  • tell
  • train
  • urge
  • *want
  • *warn
  • *would like

*Some words can be used without an object as well as with an object.

I want him to go. I want to go.

Verbs Followed by Either Gerund or Infinitive

Sometimes the meaning changes according to the verb used.

He doesn’t remember giving the homework to Mr. Young.
He didn’t remember to give the homework to Mr. Young.

  • attempt
  • begin
  • can (not) bear
  • can (not) stand
  • continue
  • hate
  • intend
  • (dis)like
  • love
  • neglect
  • prefer
  • remember
  • start
  • try

Verbs Followed Only by the Simple Form (no “-ing” or “to”)

Four verbs are called causative verbs. They are followed by an object; the verb after the object is always in the simple form:

  • let: They let him go on the trip (instead of “let him to go”).

I let him take my book home for one night.

  • make: We made her do her chores first.

I made my sister cry.

  • help: She helped her finish her homework.

I helped him find the bookstore.

  • have: The teacher had him stay after school.

I had my teacher explain the answers.

Verbs Followed by Either the Simple Form or the Gerund (no “to”)

Some verbs are called verbs of perception and are followed by either the simple form or the “-ing” form.

  • see: I see him go.

I see him going.

  • notice: I notice him run to school every day.

I notice him running to school every day.

  • watch: I watch him struggle with his homework.

I watch him struggling with his homework.

  • hear: I hear him sing.

I hear him singing.

Others including: look at, observe, listen to, feel, smell.

  • @Mari-LouA Thanks for pulling the referenced post in here! Nov 24, 2016 at 0:41
  • What would "inform you to" mean? Feb 23, 2018 at 23:29
  • @FrancisDavey: Yeah, that doesn't sound right to me. I can find a couple of examples, but they all seem dubious: google.com/…
    – Cerberus
    Feb 24, 2018 at 2:00
  • Yes, none of the actual examples look right to me. I'd mark them as ungrammatical if I were proof reading. Feb 24, 2018 at 7:27
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    @FrancisDavey: I've asked a question in a comment on the original answer. english.stackexchange.com/questions/329/…
    – Cerberus
    Feb 24, 2018 at 14:29

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