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  1. #1
    abra is offline Junior Member
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    gerunds/infinitives

    I dread to think of what might happen next.

    I dread going to work tomorrow.
    I think I'm going to call in sick.

    Can anyone help me understand why the use of inf/gerund in these sentences?

  2. #2
    Dawood Usmani's Avatar
    Dawood Usmani is offline Senior Member
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    Question Re: gerunds/infinitives

    Quote Originally Posted by abra View Post
    I dread to think of what might happen next.

    I dread going to work tomorrow. I think I'm going to call in sick.

    Can anyone help me understand why the use of inf/gerund in these sentences?
    Go to the link. It might help you a bit.
    dread ~ cambridge

  3. #3
    abra is offline Junior Member
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    Re: gerunds/infinitives

    Thanks a lot, I've found it's a specific construction with 'think'.
    Can anybody think of any verbs other than 'think' that follow this pattern?
    Thanks in advance.

  4. #4
    louhevly is offline Member
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    Re: gerunds/infinitives

    Quote Originally Posted by abra View Post
    Thanks a lot, I've found it's a specific construction with 'think'.
    Can anybody think of any verbs other than 'think' that follow this pattern?
    Thanks in advance.
    "dread" is a very unusual verb.

    As the link you followed shows, "dread to think" is an idiomatic expression that Cambridge has given its own entry to. However, with other verb complements "dread" can accept either the infinitive or gerund, with what seems to be no change in meaning. Here are some Google results:

    20,500 for "dread seeing"
    13,200 for "dread to see"
    (not much difference)

    116,000 for "dread going"
    528 for "dread to go"
    (a huge difference)

    24,000 for "dread doing"
    117,000 for "dread to do"
    (Oops! Now it's the other way around!)

    Why? Well, grammar books will tell you that the infinitive indicates potentiality whereas the gerund indicates realization. So, for example, saying "He doesn't like to do something" means that he avoids doing it and "He doesn't like doing something" means that he is uncomfortable when he does it but he can't avoid it. But I can't see that this applies in the case of "dread", where there seems to be no difference at all between the uses of infinitive and gerund (like "begin to work" is the same as "begin working").

  5. #5
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Re: gerunds/infinitives

    Dear abra,

    There is a very interesting, philosophical quotation of Nancy Astor, English politician, first woman member of the House of Parliament, where you might see the very masterful usage of this “very unusual” verb “dread”.

    “I used to dread getting older because I thought I could not be able to do all the thing I wanted to do, but now that I am old I find that I don’t want to do them.”

    Now I have the intention of answering your question concerning usage of infinitive or gerund in the sentence above.

    With a number of verbs and word -groups both the gerund and the infinitive may be used. The most important of them are: to be afraid, to begin, to cease, to continue, can (cannot), afford, to dread, to fear, to hate, to intend, to like (dislike), to neglect, to prefer, to propose, to remember, to recollect, to start, to stop.

    It is sometimes possible to find a reason for the use of a given form. With some verbs and words-groups, such as to be afraid, dread, forget, hate, like (dislike), prefer the infinitive is mostly used with reference to a special occasion., the gerund being more appropriate to a general statement.

    In my opinion, your case is special occasion so you have to use infinitive.

    “I dread to think “ is an idiom with the following meaning: “something that you say when you do not want to think about something because it is too worrying or too unpleasant

    “He was going so fast. I dread to think what would have happen if my breaks hadn’t worked.”

    No one deserves to work in an environment where you dread going to work or you feel like you are being punished (that is one of the worst feelings).

    dread = to be afraid of

    dread = great agitation and anxiety caused by the expectation or the realization of danger

    dread = anticipate with horror

    With the verb to remember the infinitive usually refers to the future, and the gerund to the past.

    “I remember seeing the book in many bookshops.”

    “Remember to buy the book.”

    “I remember telling him” (a memory of the past)

    “I must remember to tell him.” (something to remember for the future)

    With the verb to stop the infinitive and the gerund have different syntactical functions.

    The gerund forms part of a component verbal aspect predicate.

    “They stopped talking when he came in.”

    The infinitive has the function of an adverbial modifier of purpose.

    She stopped to exchange a few words with a neighbor.

    “I stopped smoking last month” (I no longer smoke)

    “I stop to smoke a cigarette.” (I stopped what I was doing and had a cigarette)

    Some verbs, can be followed by either the infinitive or – ing form but with the same meaning. Here are some common use:

    “I love to go shopping.”
    “I love going shopping.”

    “I started to learn English 4 years ago.”
    “I started learning English 4 years ago.”

    Regards.

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 06-Feb-2008 at 12:17.

  6. #6
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    Re: gerunds/infinitives

    what about "to try"?
    it goes with both and is one of the verbs giving me the greatest headache when it comes to distinguishing if you should use the gerund or the to-infinitive.


    try doing something (try + gerund)

    -to do something as an experiment or a test:
    eg. A: Ive got a headache.

    B: Why dont you try taking an aspirin?

    try to do something (try +to-inf.)

    - attempt to do, make an effort to do something:
    eg. Last night I was very tired but I had a lot of work to do. I tried to keep my eyes open but i couldnt.

    and then there are a few other tricky ones

    need

    need to do something (need + to-inf.)
    - to be necessary for someone to do something

    eg. I need to drink more water
    He needs to study harder if he wants to pass the exams

    need + gerund
    this has some sense of passive usage

    eg. The house needs cleaning (or the house needs to be cleaned)



    help

    eg. They helped me (to) clean the house

    vs.

    I should have been serious but I couldnt help laughing



  7. #7
    abra is offline Junior Member
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    Re: gerunds/infinitives

    “I used to dread getting older because I thought I could not be able to do all the thing I wanted to do, but now that I am old I find that I don’t want to do them.”
    That's exactly how I feel...
    Thanks everyone!

  8. #8
    abra is offline Junior Member
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    Re: gerunds/infinitives

    Re:need
    I need her to clean the house.
    Is it OK by you?

  9. #9
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    Re: gerunds/infinitives

    Quote Originally Posted by abra View Post
    Re:need
    I need her to clean the house.
    Is it OK by you?


    yup, it's correct

  10. #10
    abra is offline Junior Member
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    Re: gerunds/infinitives

    In a course book I'm currently using I found these examples:
    "She learnt typing at school" explained as "She attended typing classes, but I don't know if she can do it."
    as opposed to
    'She learnt to type at school" implying "She can type"
    What do you think of the first example ("She learnt typing at school")?
    Can't remember ever seeing or hearing this...

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