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  1. Someone risks accepting inappropriate materials.
  2. Someone risks to accept inappropriate materials.

How these sentences differ meaningwise?

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    I edited the OP from A risks to Someone risks
    – Joe Kim
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 21:50

3 Answers 3

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+25

These would be acceptable sentences:

  • Someone risks accepting inappropriate materials.
  • It is a risk to accept inappropriate materials.

Note that I changed the verb in the second sentence to the noun a risk. The construction with the noun can be followed by a to-infinitive while the verb cannot.

About the difference in meaning:

  • The first sentence is stating a possibility. The person someone (in this case unknown, but the sentence works just as fine if you replace it with My father for example) might accept inappropriate materials.
  • In the second sentence you're talking about a condition:
    • If you accept inappropriate materials, you're taking a risk.
    • By accepting inappropriate emails, you take a risk.

Your second sentence, where you used risk + to-infinitive is not grammatical. If you take a look at the verb risk here (scroll down a little for the verb) in the Cambridge Dictionary, you will see that it is followed by an ing-form of the verb you're using it with.

Risk is one of those verbs that can be followed by an ing-form, but not an infinitve. Some verbs can be followed by both, with or without a difference in meaning. Others can only be used with a to-infinitive, a bare infinitive or an ing-form, but not all three of those forms.

There are not really any rules for this, you just have to learn them by heart or make a guess when you're using a verb. Practice makes perfect.

On the Cambridge Dictionary website, you can also find a list of verb patterns. I suggest you take a look at that page if you would like to learn more about this specific subject.

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  • +1 for the explanation of following a noun, but not a verb, with an infinitive.
    – JimM
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 12:40
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    +1 but I'd also add a comment about the "difference in meaning" to directly answer the question Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 17:55
  • I added the difference in meaning. Please have a look and tell me whether or not you agree.
    – Vlammuh
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 18:06
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Risk should agree in number with the singular article, a. Otherwise, the sentences have no difference in meaning. You're taking a risk accepting inappropriate materials. The word taking is a participle. It's a risk to accept inappropriate materials. The word pair to accept is an infinitive.

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Someoane risks accepting inappropriate materials.

would be the acceptable version.

Using the infinitive may not be grammatical.

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  • Why part would be helpful.
    – Joe Kim
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 22:24
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    The link explains that some verbs can be followed by a gerund, some by an infinitive, and others by either. The why is that it's English.
    – Ast Pace
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 23:30
  • @AST Pace, Thank you for your comment. Evidently I trust you, as a native, and not that wrong table that has the title: "Verbs followed by Gerunds". Yet, there are the following specifications: 9= verb followed by a gerund OR a noun + an infinitive 13 = verb followed by a gerund OR an infinitive with a difference in meaning 14 = verb followed by a gerund OR an infinitive with little difference in meaning As you can see risk contains neither 9 nor 13 nor 14. Thence we conclude it is followed only by gerund which is misleading. Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 5:03
  • Misleading is this too, as Ngrams not found: Risks to accept Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 5:03
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    My comment was written in support of your answer. As I read Ngrams, it also supports your answer. The table of verbs followed by infinitives supports your answer. Your comments sound like you disagree with your own answer.
    – Ast Pace
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 5:34

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