***** NOT A TEACHER *****
LQZ, good morning.
(1)I checked my books and the Web. The findings were most interesting.
(a) Most experts say that after "to fear," there's not much difference between the gerund and infinitive.
(b) One expert says that many "pessimistic" verbs take the gerund. Surely, "fear" is pessimistic.
(c) One expert, however, had an intriguing theory:
(i) Use the gerund after "fear" if you are talking about a habitual matter (something that happens all the time). His example (with another verb): I normally don't like reading .
(ii) Use the infinitive if you are talking about a particular fact: But I like to read this book.
(iii) IF ( and it's a big IF), you accept his interesting theory, then you may indeed be correct in using the infinitive. That is, the government feared TO GIVE ammunition to its critics (IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE).
(d) Finally, one expert reminded us that "fear" will also take a that- clause. Therefore, if you don't know whether to use an infinitive or gerund, you could always "escape" from the problem by using a noun clause: The government feared that a more transparent report would give more ammuntiion to its critics.
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