I avoid going to the gym.
I avoid to go to the gym.
Which sentence is correct?
The first sentence is correct. Verbs followed by a gerund or an infinitive can be a tricky thing to determine. After certain verbs, if another verb follows, the second verb should be in the -ing form, or a gerund. Some verbs are followed by the infinitive form of a verb. To make things more confusing, some verbs can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive.
Gerund or infinitive? Verbs followed by gerund
Here are some common verbs that are followed by a gerund:
He admitted running the red light.
She denies making the mistake.
I dislike going to the dentist.
I suggest taking the shortest way.
Verbs followed by infinitive
Here are some common verbs that are followed by an infinitive:
Mike agreed to join the team.
I‘ve asked to go home early because I’m not feeling well.
She chose to stay longer.
I will request to pay in advance.
Verbs followed by gerund or infinitive
Here is a list of verbs that can be followed by a gerund or an infinitive with little to no change in meaning:
We began talking / to talk right away.
She continued walking / to walk along the river.
I love eating / to eat ice cream on a hot day.
I prefer going / to go grocery shopping in the evening.
Verbs followed by gerund or infinitive with a change in meaning
Finally, here are some verbs that are followed by a gerund or an infinitive but with a change in meaning:
He forgot calling her. (He does not remember)
He forgot to call her. (He forgot to do it)
I quit working there last year. (I stopped working there)
I quit to work here. (I stopped working somewhere in order to start working a new job)
She remembered going to the store yesterday. (She has a memory of doing it)
She remembered to go to the store yesterday. (She had a plan to do something like an obligation and did not forget to do it)
Sarah regrets saying those mean things. (She’s sorry for saying it)
We regret to tell you that you didn’t get the job. (We are sorry to have to tell you this)
How to remember all of this?
Unfortunately, the best way to remember these verb combinations is to use them a lot and to memorize them. However, there are some general rules of thumb that can help.
- An infinitive is often used to talk about the reason for doing something. Sometimes the action is imagined or in the future.
She stopped to say hi.
I decided to sign up for the race.
- An infinitive is often used after the verb + object pattern.
The company hired him to work on this project.
- A gerund is often used when the action happens at the same time as the first verb or has already happened.
I stopped watching the movie when you called.