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Verb Patterns - Gerund v Infinitive

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Hey y'all!

In my last blog entry I talked about Prepositions, specifically Adjective + Prepositions, and the difficulties students have using these prepositions.

Another area which causes students difficulty is Verb Patterns. Becoming familiar with common verbs and their pattern will help your structure and reduce pauses/hesitation in your speaking.

In todays posting, I've finally uploaded a list of the 50-60 most common verbs and their verb patterns. Do they take the infinitive or the gerund?

What's a gerund...? What's an infinitive...? I hear you ask.

English is basically a S V O language, so if we have 2 verbs in a sentence (ie. a main verb is followed by a 2nd main verb) we would essentially have S V V O. We cannot have this. This is wrong, so we change the 2nd verb to a gerund OR the infinitive.

  • gerund base verb + ing eg. I suggest watching (watch + ing) a movie.

  • infinitive to + base verb eg. I want to watch a movie.

In the above examples watch is the 2nd verb so we must change it according to the verb pattern for the 1st verb.

In the 1st example, the 1st verb is 'suggest'. Suggest is always followed by a gerund so watch changes to 'watching'.

In the 2nd example, the 1st verb is 'want'. Want is always followed by the infinitive so watch changes to 'to watch'.

Verb Patterns Cheatsheet
Download PDF • 159KB

Study the list below and memorize the patterns. Note that a few verbs can take both patterns. You can download the file here too.

Hope this helps,


The Personal English Trainer

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