What’s the Difference? Verbs + Gerunds & Verbs + Infinitives

Some verbs can only be followed by a gerund. Some can only be followed by an infinitive. Some can be followed by either with no change in meaning.

However, some can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive, but the meaning is DIFFERENT.

These are the verbs this blog post will focus on.

Look at this example:


I stopped smoking.



I stopped to smoke.

Stop +ing means QUIT:
  • When you die, your heart stops beating.
  • You tell your friend, “Stop laughing at me!”
  • You tell a child, “Please stop crying.”
Stop + to + Simple Form of the Verb means for the purpose of/in order to:
  • People often stop what they are doing to look at something on their phones.
  • We stop to look at a beautiful view. We stop to smell the flowers.
  • On a long driving trip, we may stop to go to the bathroom.
Remember & Forget also have different meanings if they are followed by gerunds or infinitives.finger-hand-string-tied-red-knot-forget-do-not-bow-english-esl

Remember to buy eggs. I remember eating delicious eggs for breakfast.

A carton of white eggs with one egg used.

Remember to or forget to refer to duties, tasks, or responsibilities:
  • Your mother might say, “Remember to clean your room.”
  • Your teacher might say, “Don’t forget to review for the test.”
  • You might tell your roommate, “I remembered to pay the rent, but I forgot to pay the utility bills.”
In contrast, remember or forget +ing refers to actual memories from the past.

I remember going to school for the very first time.

I’ll never forget meeting my best friend.

Do you remember spending time with your parents with you were little?

Hope this helps.