Gerunds, Participles, & The Infinitive
I. What are Gerunds and Participles?
Gerunds and participles have the same form. Gerunds are formed by verbs followed by 'ing'. They act as nouns. Participles act as verbs or adjectives. They are also formed by verbs followed by 'ing'. Gerunds and participles have two forms: active and passive. Active Form Simple gerund / present participle Perfect gerund / perfect participle Past participle having murdered having been murdered murdering Passive Form being murdered
A. As the subject of a verb
e.g. 1. Smoking is harmful. 2. Reading newspapers is a good habit.
B. As the object of a verb
e.g. 1. My mother likes going to Shenzhen. 2. My sister hates singing in public.
C. After prepositions
e.g. 1. You should pay the bill before leaving the restaurant. 2. The Filipino maid was accused of murdering the baby.
D. After certain verbs
Some verbs are always followed by gerunds. Some of them are: enjoy, avoid, understand, finish, miss, risk, imagine, keep, suggest, consider, stop, mind, practise, tolerate, postpone, involve, prevent, deny, like, dislike, regret
e.g. 1. I enjoy watching TV. 2. Mandy can finish knitting the cardigan this week.
E. After some common phrases and most phrasal
verbs. looking forward to, give up, no use, no good, keep on, capable of, put off, fond of , it is worth
e.g. 1. Jenny is fond of travelling. 2. It is no good studying overnight.
What is the infinitive?
Infinitives are the stems of verbs. In other words, they are the base form of verbs. They may sometimes be used alone and sometimes with 'to'. For instance, 'sing' is the base form of a
verb, in full, its past tense is 'sang' and its past participle is 'sung' This can be illustrated by the following table. Infinitive sing 3rd person singular sings Present participle singing Past tense Past participle sang sung
Usage of the infinitive
i Infinitives are used after verbs of saying, thinking
and perception. Here are some examples: agree, hope, expect, want, watch, learn, refuse, decide, intend, hesitate, remember, try, mean, choose, promise
e.g. 1. Jenny decided to join the dancing club next year. 2. The principal watched the student hit the teacher. 3. I refused to take part in this ad hoc project.
ii Infinitives are used after auxiliary verbs such as
'shall', 'will', 'should', 'would', 'can', 'could', 'may', 'might', 'ought', 'must' and 'be'. e.g. 1. Peter could not climb up the wall. 2. I may go to California this summer.
Infinitives are used after many adjectives
An adjective precede by 'too', followed by 'enough' or in between 'so ... as' is followed by an infinitive. e.g. 1. That man is too selfish to return all the souvenirs given by the community centre. 2. Ken is not bold enough to fight with the bully. 3. He is so rude as to give me a push in the back.
ii When an adjective is preceded by 'It is' and followed by ' for' or 'of', an infinitive is used after this structure. e.g. 1. It is unwise of you to invest all your money in the stock market. 2. It is impossible for me to finish the project within this week. iii Infinitives are used after many adjectives that show how a person feels. Examples of these adjectives include: angry, happy, surprised, anxious and excited. e.g. 1. She's happy to hear that her mother has totally recovered from her illness. 2. He's anxious to undergo the surgery.
Infinitives can be used as subjects e.g. 1. To have a quiz everyday is really exhausting. 2. To lean out of the window is not allowed.
Infinitives can be used as objects e.g. 1. She knows how to care for the disabled. 2. I don't know where to buy the handicrafts.
Infinitives are used after certain nouns such as 'plan', 'attempt', 'wish', 'request', 'ability', 'promise', 'offer' and 'failure'. e.g. 1. Sarah's plan to move to Sai Kung will be postponed. 2. Her request to send the flowers on Monday was accepted by the florist.
A perfect infinitive is formed by '(to) have' followed by a past participle. It is used to refer to actions that take place earlier. e.g. 1. John seems to have failed in the examination. 2. He is believed to have witnessed the murder.