Verb Patterns - Английский язык с Марией Батхан.

Verb Patterns

Verb Patterns


1. We use an -ing form:


1) after prepositions;

2) as the subject of a sentence;

3) after certain verbs and in some constructions, such as to anticipate, to avoid, to suggest, to resume, to consider, can't help, to delay, to deny, to discuss, to dislike, to enjoy, to fancy, to imagine, to forgive, to forget, to keep, to mind, to mention, to recommend, to miss, to involve, to avoid, etc.

Molly enjoys reading.

I fancy having fish and chips for dinner.

Can you forgive me for not fixing the tap?

The new project involves writing many reports.

I miss chatting with you.

We suggest not taking him too seriously.

There are some things that must be taken into consideration:

  • With some verbs, we use a perfect -ing form to emphasize that one action happens before another one.


They denied having completed the form incorrectly.


  • We can use object pronouns and possessives between the two verbs.


I don’t like their horrible gossiping.


2. We use a to-infinitive:


1) after most adjectives;

2) when we want to indicate purpose;

3) after certain verbs, such as to understand, to afford, to agree, to appear, to ask, to choose, to claim, to decide, to expect, to fail, to hope, to intend, to learn, to manage, to offer, to demand, to arrange, to promise, to seem, to pretend, to hesitate, would like, to wish, to wait, to tend, etc.


My brother has no money so he can’t afford to buy a car.

She decided not to go to the party.

I hope to see you soon.

Our uncle has promised to take us with him next time.

I wish to visit you in summer. 

I would like to buy a new dress for a party.


There are some things that must be taken into consideration:


  • We can use a passive infinitive after some verbs, especially report verbs (e.g to assume, to understand, to prove, to estimate, to consider, to feel, to think, to reckon, to report, etc.)


The crown is alleged to have been stolen from the museum.


  • We often use a perfect infinitive with some verbs, such as to happen, to tend, to claim, to seem, to appear, to emphasize that one action had happened before something else.


He appears to have put on some weight.


  • We use a perfect continuous infinitive to express duration from an earlier moment in the past.


They are thought to have been hiding in the forest.


  • We use a perfect infinitive after would like, would hate, would rather, would prefer to refer to an earlier action or event.


I would rather have been with you on holidays than stayed with my grandparents. (past)

Sarah would rather be with you. She is not happy in her current relationship. (now)


  • We use verbs to ask, to plan, to wait, to arrange + for someone


I asked for somebody to repair my bike.

We were waiting for Tony to arrive earlier than expected. 


However, some verbs have a different meaning depending on whether they are followed by an -ing form or a to + infinitive.


1) To stop + an -ing form means the action is not happening anymore.

I've stopped buying new books because I read everything online.

To stop + a to-infinitive means that someone or something stops one activity so that they can do something else.

The teacher stopped the video to ask the students some questions.


2) To try + an -ing form means that you are trying something as an experiment, especially as a possible solution to a problem, to see if it works or not.

Have you tried giving up smoking?


To try + a to-infinitive  means that something is difficult but you are making an effort to do it.

I'm trying to learn German but it's very difficult.


3) To remember/to forget + an -ing form refers to presence (or absence) of a memory of something in the past.

I remember watching this TV show before.

I'll never forget meeting you for the first time.


To remember/to forget + a to-infinitive refers to recalling (or not recalling) that there is something we need to do before we do it.


Remember to finish your essay before Monday.

He forgot to turn off the light.


4) To regret + a to-infinitive means a polite or formal form of apology.


I really regret to say that, but you are fired.


To regret + an -ing form refers to the past.


I regret informing you too early that you had failed the exams.


5) To go on + a to-infinitive means to do something after you have finished doing something else.

He finished university and went on to become a teacher.


To go on + an -ing form means to continue an action.


I ignored the incoming messages and went on doing my homework.


3. We use a bare infinitive:

1) after modal verbs (e.g. can, could, should, might, must, need etc.)

2) after certain verbs, such as to make, to let, to dare, to help.

3) after phrases (e.g. I dare say, How dare you)


We can help you if you have any problems.

When I was young, I could play football well.

How dare you talk to me after what you’ve done!

My parents never let me go out late.


  • We use verbs to hear, to see, to watch + object + a bare infinitive or an -ing form.


When we use a bare infinitive after these verbs, we want to emphasize the whole action or event that someone sees or hears.

When we use an -ing form, we want to emphasize an action or event which is in progress or isn't completed yet.


I saw my boyfriend drive off with another girl in the passenger seat. (the whole event)

We watched them taking boxes in and out of a building. (the action was in progress)