Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The First Couple of Dates - gerunds & infinitives

Mass yoga at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan just a few blocks from New
York Language Center and where Tom and Maria, in our story below, happened to
go on their second date. Read the story and practice using GERUNDS & INFINITIVES!

A couple of lessons ago, we introduced the concept of gerunds and infinitives in English grammar, a challenging issue even for advanced English language students. If you missed that lesson, check it out first to BRUSH UP on (review) the basic rules of gerunds and infinitives.

This lesson will help you practice specific verbs and phrases that require either a gerund or an infinitive. Note the capitalized phrases in our story below to see whether gerunds or infinitives are used--remember, it depends on each verb or phrase. Then practice by using the verbs, yourselves.

THE STORY: The First Couple of Dates

Do you know Tom & Maria? Well, they just started dating. They met at Tom's friend's birthday party a week ago and instantly liked each other. For their first date, Tom CONSIDERED TAKING Maria out to dinner and asked Maria's friend Sandra what kind of food Maria liked.

"She CAN'T STAND EATING anything spicy," Sandra said. "Other than that she can eat anything. But be prepared; she eats like a horse!"    [EATS LIKE A HORSE (eats a lot)]

"Good!" Tom replied. "I DISLIKE DATING picky eaters."

Tom knew Sandra liked to joke around, but he was wondering how serious she was as he thought about where to take Maria out to dinner. In the end, he DECIDED TO MAKE reservations at Ootoya, a Japanese restaurant near Union Square. His friend Joe had been there and highly recommended the place.

Their first date went well. (Btw, Maria didn't eat like a horse.) They learned about each other's interests. Maria is really into health and fitness, and somehow MANAGED TO CONVINCE Tom TO TRY yoga. Tom WANTED TO DECLINE her invitation; he didn't think he'd enjoy yoga but in the end, he DECIDED TO JOIN her.

With the weather starting to warm up a bit, there's outdoor yoga available around the city. So Maria asked Tom if he MINDED TRYING his first yoga class outdoors. Again, Tom CONSIDERED CHANGING his mind and TAKING A RAIN CHECK (asking to do it another time). In the end, however, he decided to go for it. He met Maria at Bryant Park the next day, and he HAD AN UNCOMFORTABLE BUT FUN TIME TRYING OUT downward dog and other positions for the first time.     ... to be continued.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the beginning of our story. Stay tuned to find out what they did after doing yoga at Bryant Park. For now, check out the following verbs and the one phrase used in the story. They are either followed by a gerund OR an infinitive, which means if you use a gerund when you should use an infinitive or vice versa, it's wrong. Practice, practice, practice, so you won't have to memorize. You'll simply remember.

CONSIDER + gerund  (considered taking; considered changing his mind & taking a rain check)
CAN'T STAND + gerund  (can't stand eating)
DISLIKE + gerund  (dislike dating picky eaters)
DECIDE + infinitive  (decided to make reservations; decided to join) 
MANAGE + infinitive  (managed to convince)
CONVINCE someone + infinitive  (convince Tom to try)
WANT + infinitive  (wanted to decline)
MIND + gerund  (minded trying)
HAVE A FUN TIME + gerund  (had a uncomfortable but fun time trying out)

The last phrase also works with HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME, HAVE AN EASY TIME, HAVE A FANTASTIC TIME, et al. These are all followed by a gerund.

Now, it's time for you to use the verbs above with their accompanying gerund OR infinitive. So think about your own experiences and situation and write a short paragraph. 

For example: I've been CONSIDERING LEARNING another language. I've WANTED TO DO it for a long time now. I know some friends who HAD A GREAT TIME LEARNING German, and I don't think they'd MIND HELPING me out if I DECIDED TO STUDY German, myself. I'm so busy these days, but I think I can MANAGE TO WORK it into my schedule.

So what about you? Go ahead; practice, and share your sentences with us here, on NYLC's page on Facebook, and @NYLangCenter on Twitter.

--Joe Yu, ESL instructor

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