Verbs Followed by Gerunds OR Infinitives (Similar Meaning)

can't bearHe can't bear being alone.He can't bear to be alone.
can't standNancy can't stand working the late shift.Nancy can't stand to work the late shift.
cease The government ceased providing free health care. The government ceased to provide free health care.
continueShe continued talking.She continued to talk.
hateHe hates cleaning dishes.He hates to clean dishes.
likeSamantha likes reading.Samantha likes to read.
love We love scuba diving. We love to scuba dive.
neglectHe neglected doing his daily chores.He neglected to do his daily chores.
preferHe prefers eating at 7 PM.He prefers to eat at 7 PM.
proposeDrew proposed paying for the trip.Drew proposed to pay for the trip.


Although the difference in meaning is small with these particular verbs, and gerunds and infinitives can often be used interchangeably, there is still a meaning difference. Using a gerund suggests that you are referring to real activities or experiences. Using an infinitive suggests that you are talking about potential or possible activities or experiences. Because of this small difference in meaning, gerunds and infinitives cannot always be used interchangeably, such as in the examples below.


  • The British reporter likes living in New York. He lives in New York and he likes what he experiences there.
  • The British reporter likes to live in New York whenever he works in the United States. He likes the option or possibility of living in New York when he works in the United States.
  • I like speaking French because it's such a beautiful language. I like the experience of speaking French, and the way it makes me feel when I speak the language.
  • I like to speak French when I'm in France. I prefer the option of speaking French when I am in France.
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