Verb patterns (like doing / like to do)

When two verbs are used together, they need to be connected somehow. This happens in one of three ways:1. "to" is inserted between them ( infinitive with "to"): want to go, decide to stay;
2. "-ing" gets added to the second verb (gerund): hate sunbathing, finish playing;
3. the second verb comes immediately after the first (bare infinitive). This happens after modal verbs (shall, should, will, would, must, can, could, may, might): can wait, should start and the verbs 'let, make, help': let me go, make them eat, help them carry it.

Which of the three methods is applied depends on the first verb. If the verb requires an infinitive, then the second verb will always be in the infinitive. For example, if the first verb is "want", which requires "to", we will say "want to go". On the other hand, "avoid" requires a gerund, so we say "avoid spending" as in "avoid spending too much time in the sun".

There are no rules to define which group a verb belongs to (except group 3, most of the verbs in which have been listed). They need to be learned by heart. One thing that helps is repetition by doing exercises, for example the ones here.

☆Here you can find a list of verbs that are normally followed by a gerund, and a second list with those followed by an infinitive.
☆Some verbs can be followed by either, with very little or no change in meaning (e.g.: begin, start, continue, like, love, hate, prefer).
☆In other cases the meaning changes depending on whether they are followed by a gerund (doing) or an infinitive (to do). Some examples:
- try
- remember and forget
- stop

Gerund or Infinitive
Remember, forget, stop, try 
Remember, forget, stop, regret
Remember, forget, stop, try, regret
Remember, forget, stop, try, regret (2)

Other exercises

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