infinitive or gerund?

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Apr 14, 2004
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Italian
Home Country
Italy
Current Location
Brazil
Could you tell me when to use the infinitive or the gerund as the subject of a sentence?
Thanks
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
carla guaraldi said:
Could you tell me when to use the infinitive or the gerund as the subject of a sentence?
Thanks

That would depend on what you were trying to say. In many cases, the "infinitve" is a bit stiff, when used as a subject. There are times when it is preferred, however.

Infinitives often create the sense of "potential action" or an abstraction. Gerunds often imply "concrete/real action" or process.

To love another person is to experience every emotion.
Loving another person is experiencing every emotion.

Which is better? I would choose the first. This is an abstraction.

To own a yacht is to throw one's money in the ocean.
Owning a yacht is throwing one's money in the ocean.

I prefer the second here. One gets more pain from the real action created by a gerund.

Does that help at all? :wink:
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2004
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Italian
Home Country
Italy
Current Location
Brazil
Thanks a lot Mike it has helped me, but could you give me some more
information about it?
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
carla guaraldi said:
Thanks a lot Mike it has helped me, but could you give me some more
information about it?

I've run out of ideas. What else do you want to know? :?
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
I'd go with Mike's ideas, to be honest. ;-)
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
carla guaraldi said:
What do you mean by potential actions?

Those would be things one could or is thinking about. A concrete action is one that is actually being done.

I like to eat pizza.

This is a concept. It is a statement about what one likes when one has the opportunity.

I like eating pizza.

This focuses on the actual act of eating pizza.

It is a minor difference, since pizza is liked in both cases.

There is more information here:

http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/verbs.htm#gerunds
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top