Activity 1: Verbs patterns: gerund or infinitive?

Exercise 1.
The following verbs are followed by the infinitive: agree, fail, offer, manage and hope. So, you should have ticked those boxes.
These other verbs are followed by the gerund: finish, deny and entail.

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Exercise 2.
The following verbs are followed by the infinitive: tend, wish and refuse. So, you should have ticked those boxes.
These other verbs are followed by the gerund: keep, postpone, mind, involve and risk.

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Exercise 3.
The following sentences are correct: numbers 2, 3, 6, 7, and 9.
The other sentences are incorrect, they should be:
1.) The systems planning team decided to adopt a new strategy; (decide takes the infinitive).
4.) The visiting lecturer agreed to give another presentation; (agree takes the infinitive).
5.) The committee wishes to return to this at a later date; (wish takes the infinitive)
8.) The naval officer did not manage to navigate a course successfully; (manage takes the infinitive)

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Activity 2: Some helpful information about the gerund

Exercise 1.
The following sentences are correct, numbers: 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8.
The other sentences are incorrect, they should be:
4.) We look forward to hearing from you in due course; (“to” is a preposition here and so takes the gerund).
5.) The consultant did not wish to spend hours asking about dietary requirements; (“to spend time -ing“).
7.) I anticipate their complaining because of the costs incurred; (anticipate + possessive/object pronoun + -ing).
9.) Legislation does not prevent them/their experimenting with drugs; (prevent + possessive/object pronoun + -ing).

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Exercise 2.
The following sentences are correct, numbers: 2, 4, 5, 6and 9.
The other sentences are incorrect, they should be:
1.) The office staff do not mind being interrupted, if it is an urgent matter; (“mind” is used here with the passive gerund).
3.) Language teachers have more difficulty teaching mixed ability classes; (“to have difficulty + -ing“, “in” is optional here).
7.) She guessed the meaning without referring to a dictionary; (the preposition “without” is followed by -ing).
8.) They refused to return the hostage despite promising to do so; (the preposition “despite” is followed by -ing).

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Activity 3: Some helpful information about the infinitive

The following sentences are correct, numbers: 1, 3, 6, 8 and 9.
The other sentences are incorrect, they should be:
2.) The employees have an ability to undermine innovations introduced by managers; (abstract noun taking the infinitive as a complement).
4.) Please let me know if you agree to serve on the sub-committee; (let +object/object pronoun + bare infinitive).
5.) Buddhist practice has helped him (to) find peace of mind; (“to help” + object/object pronoun + bare or full infinitive).
7.) The smuggler was made to open her bags at Customs; (“make” meaning “compel“, takes the full infinitive in passive voice).

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Review of Main Points

Some verbs are always followed by the gerund and others always take the full infinitive. It is helpful to memorise lists that show which of these groups a verb belongs to. Such lists can be found in the reference sections of English grammar books or can be found online e.g. Englishpage.com. The gerund can be the subject or object of a sentence. It always follows a preposition and with a few verbs (excuse, forgive, prevent etc.) the gerund can be preceded by an object pronoun or a possessive pronoun e.g. “Please forgive me/my phoning so late at night.” Certain phrases always take the “-ing” form: “to be worth -ing”, “to spend time (on) -ing” and “to have difficulty (in) -ing”. The passive gerund is formed by “-ing” and the past participle. Some verbs can be followed by an object then the bare infinitive, others by an object then the full infinitive. Again, memorisation of these lists is to be recommended. The infinitive of purpose is often used to express the reason for a particular course of action. Most adjectives and many abstract nouns are followed by the infinitive.

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