Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|38. -ing or to: change in meaning

Read the rules

Some verbs are followed by -ing and some are followed by to… .

Verbs usually followed by -ing:

admit, fancy, postpone, avoid, finish, risk, consider, imagine, stop, deny, keep (on), suggest, enjoy, mind

Verbs usually followed by to…:

afford, fail, offer, agree, forget, plan, arrange, hope, promise, decide, learn, refuse, deserve, manage, threaten

Read the rules

Some verbs can be followed by -ing or to… with a difference of meaning:


I remember doing something = I did it and now I remember this.

You remember doing something after you have done it.

I remembered to do something = I remembered that I had to do it, so I did it.

You remember to do something before you do it.

1. I know I locked the door. I clearly remember locking it. (= I locked it, and now I remember this)

2. He could remember driving along the road just before the accident, but he couldn’t remember the accident itself.

1. I remembered to lock the door, but I forgot to shut the windows. (= I remembered that I had to lock it, and so I locked it)

2. Please remember to post the letter. (= don’t forget to post it)


I regret doing something = I did it and now I’m sorry about it: I regret to say / to tell you / to inform you I’m sorry that I have to say (etc.):
1. I now regret saying what I said. I shouldn’t have said it.

2. It began to get cold and he regretted not wearing his coat.

(from a formal letter) We regret to inform you that we cannot offer you the job.

Go on

Go on doing something = continue with the same thing: Go on to do something = do or say something new:
1. The president paused for a moment and then went on talking.

2. We need a change. We can’t go on living like this.

After discussing the economy, the president then went on to talk about foreign policy.


Read the rules

The following verbs can be followed by -ing or to…: begin, start, continue, intend, bother

So you can say:

1. It has started raining. or It has started to rain.

2. John intends buying a house. or John intends to buy

3. Don’t bother locking the door. or Don’t bother to lock

But normally we do not use -ing after -ing:

  • It’s starting to rain. (not It’s starting raining)


Put the verb into the correct form, -ing or to… . Sometimes either form is possible.


Here is some information about Tom when he was a child

  1. He was in hospital when he was four.
  2. He went to Paris when he was eight.
  3. He cried on his first day at school.
  4. Once he fell into the river.
  5. He said he wanted to be a doctor.
  6. Once he was bitten by a dog.

He can still remember 1, 2 and 4. But he can’t remember 3, 5 and 6. Write sentences beginning He can remember… or He can’t remember… .

Complete each sentence with a verb from the list in the correct form, -ing or to… There are three extra verbs you don’t need to use

If you open the lesson plan you will be able to assign separate pages as homework or all the homework pages at once.

Урок Homework Курс
  • The rule
  • Remember, regret, go on
  • It has started raining
  • Put the verb into the correct form
  • Write the sentences
  • -Ing or to...
  • Homework
  1. 1. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|1. I am doing and I do
  2. 2. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|2. I am doing and I do
  3. 3. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|3. I did
  4. 4. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|4. I was doing
  5. 5. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|5. I have done
  6. 6. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|6. I have done 2
  7. 7. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|7. I have been doing
  8. 8. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|8. I've been doing / I've done
  9. 9. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|9. How long have you (been)...?
  10. 10. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|10. For/since; When/How long?
  11. 11. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|11. I have done and I did
  12. 12. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|12. I have done and I did 2
  13. 13. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|13. I had done
  14. 14. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|14. I had been doing
  15. 15. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|15. The future: I am doing / I do
  16. 16. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|16. I will and I'm going to
  17. 17. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|17. Future: Continuous/Perfect
  18. 18. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|18. Conditional I
  19. 19. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|19. Can, could and (be) able to
  20. 20. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|20. Have to and must
  21. 21. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|21. If I do... and If I did...
  22. 22. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|22. If I knew... I wish I knew...
  23. 23. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|23. Conditional III
  24. 24. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|24. Wish
  25. 25. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|25. Is done / was done
  26. 26. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|26. Be/been/being + done
  27. 27. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|27. Passive 3
  28. 28. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|28. Passive: He is said to...
  29. 29. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|29. Have something done
  30. 30. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|30. He said that...
  31. 31. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|31. Say and Tell
  32. 32. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|32. Do you know where..?
  33. 33. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|33. Auxiliary verbs; so/neither
  34. 34. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|34. Do you? Isn't it? etc.
  35. 35. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|35. Gerund
  36. 36. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|36. Verb + to Infinitive
  37. 37. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|37. Verb + Object + to Infinitive
  38. 38. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|38. -ing or to: change in meaning
  39. 39. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|39. Try/Need/Help: -ing or to
  40. 40. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|40. Like / Would like: -ing or to
  41. 41. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|41. Some/any/no/none
  42. 42. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|42. Much/many/few/little
  43. 43. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|43. Both/either/neither/all/every