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    #1

    infinitive and gerund

    I have a question about the difference between the infinitive and the gerund.
    Should we use the infinitive or the gerund after "learn"? Is there any rule for that (learn)?
    And is there any way to learn the difference between the infinitive and the gerund better and more easily?
    For example, which is correct?

    A)
    1) I learned driving from my dad.
    2) I learned to drive from my dad.

    B)
    1) I learned driving when I was 17.
    2) I learned to drive when I was 17.

  1. SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: infinitive and gerund

    (Not a Teacher)

    Set A: Sentence 1 is fine.
    In sentence 2, I'd add a 'how' before 'to drive'.

    Set B: They're both acceptable, but I would use sentence 2.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: infinitive and gerund

    I don't think the gerund form is ungrammatical, but I don't find it natural.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: infinitive and gerund

    Quote Originally Posted by English4everyone View Post
    I have a question about the difference between the infinitive and the gerund.
    Should we use the infinitive or the gerund after "learn"? Is there any rule for that (learn)?
    And is there any way to learn the difference between the infinitive and the gerund better and more easily?
    For example, which is correct?

    A)
    1) I learned driving from my dad.
    2) I learned to drive from my dad.

    B)
    1) I learned driving when I was 17.
    2) I learned to drive when I was 17.
    Sometimes the gerund works and sometimes it doesn't:

    - I learnt driving from my dad. Unnatural, in my opinion.
    - I started driving when I was 17. Natural.

    - I learnt cooking from my mother. Unnatural.
    - I started cooking when I was 10.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: infinitive and gerund

    Thank you for all the replies.
    But it's still vague.
    Can anyone explain more?

  4. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: infinitive and gerund

    Quote Originally Posted by English4everyone View Post
    Thank you for all the replies.
    But it's still vague.
    Can anyone explain more?
    Hello, English4everyone.
    "driving" is a gerund which comes from the verb "drive".
    It is a noun indeed. Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary
    As Barb and others pointed out, "I learned/learnt driving." is grammatical, but the problem is whether it is natural or not.
    And... it is not natural. All we (non-native speakers) can do is to accept the fact.

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    #7

    Re: infinitive and gerund

    Again I would like to thank everyone, and sorry for bringing up this discussion again.
    Any other comments are appreciated.

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    #8

    Re: infinitive and gerund

    Whether you should use the infinitive or the gerund depends on the verb. For instance, you say I want to speak English and I practice speaking English. In grammars, student books, etc., you can find lists of verbs that go either with the infinitive or with the gerund, see e.g. Verb Lists: Infinitives and Gerunds
    What makes things complicated is that some verbs (like, stop) can go with both and there's a slight difference in meaning between the two, but that's a different story.

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: infinitive and gerund

    I also think there are some regional variations on what sounds natural.

    For example, in a recent thread, a BrE speaker said "The printer needs fixing" was normal. That would not sound very natural here (in the US). I would be much more likely to say "The printer needs to be fixed."

    This may be more common in the Southern part of the US, though.

    And to make it worse, "This essay needs some proofreading" sounds okay.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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