Verbs followed by to + verb/v-ing

To + Verb

We express purpose and explain why an action was done.

We are eating out tonight to celebrate my birthday.

Men give women roses to impress them.

After ‘it is + adj’

It is polite to compliment people.

It is a pleasure to meet you.

After certain state verbs

  • Agree
  • Appear
  • Choose
  • Decide
  • Expect
  • Hope
  • Learn
  • Manage
  • Offer
  • Promise
  • Refuse
  • Seem
  • Tend
  • Threaten
  • Want
  • Plan
  • Need
  • Would like

*after most modal verbs, we do not use ‘to’



When we use the verb as the subject or object of the sentence (gerunds).

Learning a second language is important for students.

Jennifer says listening to podcasts in a foreign language is helpful.

After prepositions

I’m not happy about working late on Saturday.

Lisa is scared of walking home alone at night.

After certain state verbs

  • Admit
  • Avoid
  • Bother
  • Deny
  • Dislike
  • Enjoy
  • Finish
  • Get (a)round to
  • Imagine
  • Insist on
  • Keep (on)
  • Mind
  • Miss
  • Suggest


Sometimes we can use both forms after certain verbs and not change the meaning of the sentence.  These include the following state verbs:

  • Begin
  • Start
  • Like
  • Love
  • Prefer
  • Continue

Peter likes to cook.                        Peter likes cooking.

Lanie always begins to read at bedtime.                              Lanie always begins reading at bedtime.



Other verbs that can take both forms, however, do change the meaning of the sentence.  The most common ones are below.

  • Stop
  • Try
  • Remember
  • Forget
  • Go on
  • Regret


I went on watching the same documentary.

I was watching a documentary, paused it, then returned to finish watching it.

                Seguí viendo lo mismo documentario.

I went on to watch another documentary.

I finished one documentary and began to watch another.

                Seguí viendo otro documentario.


He tried changing his diet, but he always quit after the first week.

He experimented with new foods.

Probó a cambiar su dieta, pero siempre vuelve después la primera semana.

He tried to change his diet, but he always quit after the first week.

He made an effort to change his eating habits.

Intentó a cambiar su dieta, pero siempre la deja después la primera semana.


I forgot to talk to her about it.

I did not talk to her because I did not remember.

                Me olvidé a hablar con ella.

I’ll never forget talking to her about it.

I will always have a memory of talking to her.

                Nunca olvidaré a hablar con ella.


I regret to tell you that we have not won the lottery today.

I am sorry to tell you…

                Lo siento, pero no has ganado.

I regret telling you that we have not won the lottery today.

I wish I had not told you…

                Lamento decirte…


Debbie stopped talking to the neighbors last week.

Debbie is not speaking to the anymore as of last week.

                Debbie dejó de hablar a los vecinos.

Debbie stopped to talk to the neighbors last week.

Debbie saw the neighbors and spoke to them.

                Debbie paró para hablar con los vecinos.


Do you remember to turn off the lights every morning?

Do you regularly turn off the lights?

                ¿Recuerdas a apagar las luces todas las mañanas?

Do you remember turning off the lights this morning?

This morning, do you recall if the lights were left on or off?

                ¿Recuerdas si has apagado las luces?