Some Activities to Teach Gerunds and Infinitives

I always claim that English grammar is easy, especially when compared to the Spanish or French grammar, but it gets a bit messy when it comes to verbs followed by infinitive or gerund.

The easy thing to say is that

  • some verbs are followed by infinitive (promise to go)
  •  some verbs are followed by gerund (can’t stand ironing).

But then we find that,

  • some other verbs are followed by infinitive or gerund with no change of meaning (start to study/start studying)
  • while some others are followed by infinitive and gerund with a change of meaning (stop to smoke/stop smoking)

And to add insult to injury,

  • some verbs are followed by infinitive with to (offer to help)
  • some others by infinitive without to ( make me study)
  • some verbs are followed by gerund, but if there is an object pronoun in between the verb and the gerund, then the gerund becomes infinitive (recommended reading / recommended her to read) …

Amazing, isn’t it?

Well, I suppose there’s nothing we can do about it, so let’s get down to some serious studying.

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Time: 60 minutes


Download the document here


Exercise 1. The Quiz


Exercise 2: The Rewriting Exercise


3.  Speaking and/or Writing: Storytelling Competition

  • Go to Ask students to tell you verbs followed by gerund first, and then verbs followed by the “to” infinitive. Feed the wheel with these verbs.
  • Explain that in this activity they will need to seat in a circle in groups of 4.
  • Explain that you will write on the board the beginning of a story and then, in their groups, they will need to continue it.
  • Write on the board the beginning of a story. You can use this Short Story Generator.
  • Spin the wheel.
  • To make sure students will use the verb in the correct way, ask them to tell you whether the verb displayed in the wheel is followed by infinitive or gerund.
  • The oldest person in the group will start telling the story using the target verb in the wheel.
  • Give the student one minute to continue the story and then spin the wheel again for the next student.
  • If a student cannot come up with an idea to continue the story, he’s eliminated.
  • Continue until there is only one student left. This student will be the winner if he manages to give the story in his group a suitable ending.

Here’s the wheel I have used with my students.

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11 thoughts on “Some Activities to Teach Gerunds and Infinitives

  1. thanks a bunch for all the ideas and exercises, they are superb
    PS. The first exercise, the quiz is not available. Could you upload it again??

  2. Hi Nora
    Thanks for your comment.
    You can download the wheel but it will lose some of its appeal. For example, there will be no sound and options will not be displayed in the centre of the wheel; other than that, you will need to click on the icon Wheeldecide and then right click Save as.It will save the whole html page ( careful, you will need the wheeldecide file and the wheeldecide html )
    I really encourage you to do your own. It is very simple.

  3. Hi. I´m so excited with this blog. thank you so much. Cristina, Could you tell me if i can download the wheel created with gerund. ? or Do I need to create one? The thing is… I don´t have internet in classroom

  4. Yes, unfortunately the website closed down. It was a quiz containing sentences with a verb that could be followed by either infinitive or gerund. The quiz gave them the two options and they had to choose the correct one.

  5. Hi Cristina, the link to the quiz is no longer available. Can you give me some idea of what kind of quiz it was so that I can find something similar? Thanks

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