Common mistakes in IELTS – Misuse of the infinitive

    Misuse of the infinitive

Use the gerund and not the infinitive

(a) After prepositions or preposition phrases

75. Without, etc. + -ing

Don’t say: Do your work without to speak.

√ Say: Do your work without speaking.

76. Instead of, etc. + -ing

Don’t say: He went away instead to wait.

√ Say: He went away instead of waiting.

(b) After words which regularly take a preposition

77. Capable of + -ing

Don’t say: They’re quite capable to do that.

√ Say: They’re quite capable of doing that.

Note: Also incapable of, to + the infinitive follows able or unable –> He is unable to do anything.

78. Fond of + -ing

Don’t say: She’s always fond to talk.

√ Say: She’s always fond of talking.

79. Insist on + -ing

Don’t say: Simon insisted to go to London.

√ Say: Simon insisted on going to London.

80. Object to + -ing

Don’t say: I object to be treated like this.

√ Say: I object to being treated like this.

81. Prevent from + -ing

Don’t say: The rain prevented me to go.

√ Say: The rain prevented me from going.

82. Succeed in + -ing

Don’t say: Paula succeeded to win the prize.

√  Say: Paula succeeded in winning the prize.

83. Think of + -ing

Don’t say: I often think to go to England.

√ Say: I often think of going to England.

84. Tired of + -ing

Don’t say: The customer got tired to wait.

√ Say: The customer got tired of waiting.

85. Used to + -ing

Don’t say She’s used to get up early.

√ Say: She’s used to getting up early.

(c) After certain verbs

86. Avoid + -ing

Don’t say: You can’t avoid to make mistakes.

✓ Say: You can’t avoid making mistakes.

Note: Also can’t help/ can’t avoid / can’t help laughing

87. Enjoy + -ing

Don’t say: I enjoy to play football.

✓ Say: I enjoy playing football.

Note: Use the gerund or to + infinitive after verbs meaning to like or to dislike –> He likes reading English books, or He likes to read English books.

88. Excuse + -ing

Don’t say: Please excuse me to be so late.

✓ Say: Please excuse my being so late.

Or: Please excuse me for being so late.

89. Finish + -ing

Don’t say: Have you finished to speak?

✓ Say: Have you finished speaking?

Note: So + infinitive or the gerund follow verbs meaning to begin –> She began to speak, or She began speaking.

90. Go on (continue) + -ing

Don’t say: The music went on to play all day.

✓ Say: The music went on playing ail day.

Note: Also keep on –> She kept on playing the piano.

91. Mind (object to) + -ing

Don’t say: Would you mind to open the door?

✓ Say: Would you mind opening the door?

Use of the gerund

Use the gerund (and not the infinitive)

1. After prepositions

Examples: He worked without stopping. She played instead of working.

2. After words which regularly take a preposition, such as fond of, insist on, tired of, succeed in

Examples: I’m tired of doing the work again. He succeeded in catching the rat.

3. After certain verbs, such as avoid, enjoy, finish, slop, risk, excuse

Examples: They enjoy playing football. The wind has stopped blowing.

4. After the adjectives busy and worth

Examples: Lena was busy writing a book. This date is worth remembering.

5. After certain phrases, such as it’s no use, it’s no good, I can’t help, would you mind, look forward to

Examples: I think it’s no use trying again. I can’t help feeling angry about it.

Use the gerund or the infinitive after certain verbs, such as begin, like, dislike, hate, love, prefer.

Example: He began to talk or He began talking.

92. Practice + -ing

Don’t say: You must practice to speak English.

✓ Say: You must practice speaking English.

93. Remember + -ing

Don’t say: I don’t remember to have seen him.

✓ Say: I don’t remember seeing him.

Or: I don’t remember having seen him.

94. Risk + -ing

Don’t say: We couldn’t risk to leave him alone.

✓ Say: We couldn’t risk leaving him alone.

95 Stop + -ing.

Don’t say: The wind has almost stopped to blow.

✓ Say: The wind has almost stopped blowing.

Note: Also give up (= stop) –> He gave up smoking.

(d) After certain adjectives

96. Busy + -ing

Don’t say: He was busy to revise the exams.

✓ Say: He was busy revising for the exams.

97. Worth + -ing

Don’t say: Is today’s film worth to see?

✓ Say: Is today’s film worth seeing?

(e) After certain phrases

98. Have difficulty in + -ing

Don’t say: She has no difficulty to do it.

✓ Say: She has no difficulty in doing it.

99. Have the pleasure of + -ing

Don’t say: I had the pleasure to meet him.

✓ Say: I had the pleasure of meeting him.

Note: Also take pleasure in –> He takes great pleasure in others.

100. It’s no use + -ing

Don’t say: It’s no use to cry like a baby.

✓ Say: It’s no use crying like a baby.

101. It’s no good + -ing

Don’t say: It’s no good to get angry.

✓ Say: It’s no good getting angry.

102. Look forward to + -ing

Don’t say: I look forward to see him soon.

✓ Say: I look forward to seeing him soon.

103. There is no harm in + -ing

Don’t say: There’s no harm to visit her now.

✓ Say: There’s no harm in visiting her now.

Common mistakes in IELTS – Misuse of the infinitive
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