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  1. #1
    bleiva is offline Newbie
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    Smile Infinitive + ing

    Hello

    I was wondering when it is (by the way, is this correct? Or should I say 'is it'?) possible to, in a sentence, use a verb in the Infinitive form or ending in 'ing' interchangeably. For example,

    'I started cleaning the room' vs. 'I started to clean the room'. Is There any difference between them? When can I use them interchangeably?

    'The worst thing you can do is tell him that...' vs. 'The worst thing you can do is telling him...' (is the latter possible?) do both sentences mean the same?

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by bleiva; 09-Feb-2011 at 20:21.

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Infinitive + ing

    They are interchangeable to me.

    And, yes, "when it is" is a fine way to ask as you have used it.

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Infinitive + ing

    Quote Originally Posted by bleiva View Post
    Hello

    I was wondering when it is (by the way, is this correct? Or should I say 'is it'?) possible to, in a sentence, use a verb in the Infinitive form or ending in 'ing' interchangeably. For example,

    'I started cleaning the room' vs. 'I started to clean the room'. Is There any difference between them? When can I use them interchangeably?

    'The worst thing you can do is tell him that...' vs. 'The worst thing you can do is telling him...' (is the latter possible?) do both sentences mean the same?

    Thanks in advance

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Bleiva,


    (1) You have asked a super hard question. It is so hard that

    many ordinary native speakers such as I have problems.

    (2) Sometimes (maybe most of the times) it does not matter.

    (3) But sometimes it really matters!!!!!

    (4) I shall give you some examples. (Of course, I shall credit the book at the

    end of this post)

    I remember locking the door. (You locked the door before you remembered that you did it.)

    I remembered to lock the door. (You remembered before you locked it.)

    My example only: I am an old man. Sometimes at 11:30 a.m., for

    example, I might say to myself: Did I brush my teeth this morning? I do not

    remember brushing my teeth. Maybe I did or maybe I didn't.

    I tried to close the window. (I did not close it; it was broken, so I could not move it.)

    I tried closing the window. (I did close the window; nevertheless, I still felt cold.)

    I stopped smoking. = I broke the habit; I stopped to smoke. = I did not work for five minutes. During that time, I smoked. Then I returned to my work.

    This next example is different. They are about the same, but some experts see a little difference. Probably many native speakers think they are the same:

    Helen started to do her homework at 8 p.m./ Helen started doing her
    homework at 8 p.m. (Some experts say that the infinitive gives the idea that she PROBABLY did not finish her work; Some experts say that the gerund gives the idea that she PROBABLY did finish her work.

    All of these examples come from a book used by many teachers:

    The Grammar Book/ An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course (Rowley, London, Tokyo:Newbury House, 1983). The two scholars who wrote it were
    Mesdames Marianne Celce-Murcia and Diane Larsen-Freeman.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    P. S. Some experts feel that often the infinitive is more remote or
    objective/theoretical; the gerund is more immediate and emotional.

    For example:

    Two friends who have not seen each other for five years meet on the

    street in Santiago. After they talk for 15 minutes, one of them says:

    It was nice to see you. Goodbye. OR

    It was really great seeing you. Let's have lunch one day.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Infinitive + ing

    Quote Originally Posted by bleiva View Post
    Hello

    I was wondering when it is (by the way, is this correct? Or should I say 'is it'?) possible to, in a sentence, use a verb in the Infinitive form or ending in 'ing' interchangeably. For example,

    'I started cleaning the room' vs. 'I started to clean the room'. Is There any difference between them? When can I use them interchangeably?

    'The worst thing you can do is tell him that...' vs. 'The worst thing you can do is telling him...' (is the latter possible?) do both sentences mean the same?

    Thanks in advance
    This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions here. (verbing v. to verb)
    No, the two forms aren't interchangeable (though they can be in specific instances).
    You could read some of these threads (I searched for 'verbing' so they might not all be relevant)::
    UsingEnglish.com ESL Forum - Search Results

  5. #5
    bleiva is offline Newbie
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    Smile Re: Infinitive + ing

    Thank you all for your extremely helpful answers :) I'm sorry for the late reply too- I've been having problems with my Internet connection lately. I will click on the link and read every useful thread I find. Thank you

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