Gerund and infinitive with to – no difference in meaning

Gerund and the Infinitive after the verb – no difference in meaning

These verbs can be followed by a Gerund and an Infinitive without changing their meaning:

Verb Examples
begin He began talking.
He began to talk.
continue They continue smoking.
They continue to smoke.
hate Do you hate working on Saturdays?
Do you hate to work on Saturdays?
like I like swimming.
I like to swim.
love She loves painting.
She loves to paint.
prefer Pat prefers walking home.
Pat prefers to walk home.
start They start singing.
They start to sing.

These verbs can also be followed by a Gerund or an Infinitive without changing their meaning. Mind the structure with the infinitive:

  • Gerund: Verb + -ing
  • Infinitive: Verb + Person (as object) + infinitive with to
Verb Examples
advise They advise walking to town.
They advise us to walk to town.
allow They do not allow smoking here.
They do not allow us to smoke here.
encourage They encourage doing the test.
They encourage us to do the test.
permit They do not permit smoking here.
They do not permit us to smoke here.

When recommend is not followed by a Gerund, put that after recommend. The form walk is a subjunctive.

Verb Examples
recommend They recommend walking.
They recommend that we walk.

There is sometimes a little change in the meaning of the sentences depending on the use of the Gerund or the Infinitive. Here is an example with like.

Thanks to Bryan.