What’s the difference in meaning between infinitive and gerund?

(1) They love to walk in the woods. (Angela Downing, English Grammar: A University Course) (2) They love walking in the woods. She says (1) will be interpreted as potential, while a gerund means actual or habitual. But, in fact, they seem to be very similar. How do I understand the difference in meaning? Answer … Read more

When to use “be” in a sentence?

We’ll be late! We’ll late! You’ll be so tired in the morning. You’ll so tired in the morning. It will be very pleasant for you. It will very pleasant for you. I’ll be all right. I’ll all right. To what is be pointing, in the above sentences? Are those sentences correct without be? adding 4 … Read more

Is “What happened to him” correct?

It is common to say “What happened to him (or somebody)?” to inquire about somebodies’ whereabouts. But is it right? In my opinion, it should be “What was happened to him?” or “What did happen to him?”, even it can be “What had happen to him (before today)?” Am I wrong in this understanding? Answer … Read more

active verb with another infinitive

Can we use two active verbs for a sentence? For example in #1: Special care is taken to extract irregular borders during the modeling. Special care is taken when extracting irregular borders during the modeling. Which is correct, 1 or 2? Answer Either sentence is fine. But they mean different things: Special care is taken … Read more

Infinitive form Vs. -ing form after a value judgement

Which one of the following is correct and why? It’ll be wonderful to see you again. It’ll be wonderful seeing you again. Answer Both are correct. Either the gerund clause or the infinitive clause can act syntactically as a [NominalPhrase] in this construction. The construction it + BE + [AdjectivalPhrase] + [NominalPhrase] is a rearrangement … Read more

Infinitive and Gerund Construction

English isn’t my mother tongue. I’m familiar with the notions of infinitive and gerund but I sometimes just don’t know which of the two should be used in combination with which verb. Thomson and Martinet [1986] provide some verbs that may take either infinitive or gerund without changing the meaning (advise, allow, …). I am … Read more

Using a verb as subject of a sentence

In Italian, when I write a sentence about an action (e.g. eating fish, playing), I would use the infinitive, such as mangiare pesce fa bene alla salute (which literally is “to eat fish is healthy”), or giocare aiuta ad imparare (which literally is “to play helps to learn”). I would use the gerund in giocando … Read more