Verbs followed by infinitives and gerunds

Some verbs and adjectives can be followed by either an –ing form or an infinitive. In some cases there is a difference of meaning.

Here is a list of verbs that can have different meanings depending on whether they are followed by a gerund or an infinitive.

Remember, forget and regret

These verbs can be followed by either an –ing form or an infinitive. When used with an –ing form, remember and forget refer to the past.

When used with an infinitive, they refer to things that a person still has or had to do at the moment of speaking.

I will never forget meeting Joy for the first time.

I will never forget visiting Venice.

I still remember buying my first car.

I forgot to take the umbrella.

Susie forgot to wish John on his birthday.

You must remember to take these papers when you go to the bank.

Don’t forget to ask him about his new projects.

Don’t forget to feed the dogs before you leave for work.

When used with an –ing form, regret refers to the past. This structure can be used to talk about something that you are sorry you did.

I regret quitting my job.

John is very rude. I regret inviting him to my party.

The structure regret + infinitive is mostly used to announce bad news.

We regret to inform passengers that the 3.30 pm flight has been cancelled.

We regret to inform you that your application has been rejected.

Advise, allow, permit and forbid

These verbs are used with an –ing form if there is no object. They are used with an infinitive if there is an object.

I wouldn’t advise inviting him to your party. (We use an –ing form because there is no object.)

I wouldn’t advise you to invite Jake to your party. (We use an infinitive because there is an object.)

We don’t permit smoking in the kitchen. (Note the use of –ing form)

We don’t permit people to smoke in the kitchen. (Note the use of the –infinitive)

My landlady has forbidden smoking in the kitchen.

My landlady has forbidden me to smoke in the kitchen.