|To master using gerunds & infinitives, you either need an excellent memory or|
you need to practice a lot. Either way, if you work on it, you'll eventually get a
better sense of which one sounds best, & with time, it will become second nature.
Here are a couple of examples:
- He ENJOYS SMOKING, but he doesn't WANT TO SMOKE when his parents are around.
- (The verb ENJOY has to be followed by a gerund, while the verb WANT has to be followed by an infinitive. In other words, "enjoy to smoke" is wrong, and "want doing" is also wrong.)
- She knows IT'S IMPORTANT TO SPEAK English in the classroom, but she CAN'T HELP SPEAKING Spanish because it's much easier and faster.
- (The phrase "IT'S IMPORTANT" or "IT + BE + adjective" must be followed by an infinitive, while the verb CAN'T HELP must be followed by a gerund. Just like the first example, you can't say "It's important speaking" or "can't help to speak" because they are simply wrong.)
Sometimes, we just need the simple form of the verb, and we will cover this in future lessons. However, if a verb must be followed by a gerund or an infinitive, it's wrong to use the simple form.
|Because ENJOYS can only be followed by a gerund, it's wrong to say "enjoys|
to learn" or "enjoys learn." Similarly, IT'S IMPORTANT must be followed by an
infinitive, so "It's important practicing" or "It's important practice" are both wrong.
There are lists, of course, of which verbs & phrases require a gerund and which ones require an infinitive. However, most teachers don't recommend simply memorizing these lists. The best way to learn and remember is by using English as much as you can, plain and simple. The more you read, listen, and watch, and the more you speak and write, the quicker your brain will pick up these structures and the faster you will get a sense of what sounds natural in English.