Verb Forms

There are three verb forms: the to-infinitive, gerunds and participles.

The to-infinitive

1.- The to-infinitive form is the base form of the verb: to + verb.

To look.
To wash.
To cook.

What is the to-infinitive used for?

1-After some verbs: afford, agree, appear, beg, care, choose, claim, consent, decide, demand, expect, forget, have, hope, hear, learn, listen, offer, plan, prepare, promise, refuse, regret, see, smell, etc.

I decided to go to the party.

2-To express purpose.

She saved money to buy the hat she wanted.

3-After adjectives: afraid, anxious, careful, clever, eager, fortunate, glad, happy, lucky, proud, reluctant, sad, willing, etc.

He was willing to accept your offer.

4-After question words (what, who, what, where, when).

I never know what to wear.

5-After want, would like, would prefer, would love.

I would prefer to eat outside today.

6-After a noun or a pronoun.

We need your approval to continue with the project.

7-After the following structure: it + linking verb + adjective.

It is important to work together.

8-After too and enough.

I’m too tired to play with you.
She is smart enough to solve the problem.

Gerunds -ing form

2.- Gerunds are other verb forms that are words that end in –ing that functions as nouns.

What is the gerund -ing form used for?

1-We use gerunds after the verbs: admit, appreciate, avoid, allow, begin, confess, consider, deny, discuss, dislike, enjoy, fancy, finish, forget, go, hate, keep, imagine, include, keep, like, love, lose, mind, miss, quit, save, suggest, permit, practise, prevent, prefer, recall, regret, quit, recommend, save, start, suggest, stop, spend, waste.

*Verbs that express likes, dislikes and preferences.

I always avoid touching the old box.
I don’t recall telling you that.
We enjoy studying at the library.

2-We can use gerunds as the subject of a sentence.

Cooking is my favourite part of the day.
Dancing requires a lot of effort.
Running gives him energy.

3-We can use gerunds as the direct object of a sentence.

He admitted telling the truth.
I remember visiting that park as a child.
We don’t mind taking a break.

4-We can use gerunds as the subject complement of a sentence.

Their main goal is achieving success.
One of the benefits of the school curriculum is learning a second language.
Her greatest pleasure is teaching English.

5-We can use gerunds after prepositions.

I’m not good at playing the drums.
My dogs are excited about going to the park.
Brian is afraid of speaking in public.

6-We can use gerunds after the expressions: it’s no use, can’t help, to be worth, what’s the use of, can’t stand, to be fed up with.

I can’t stand being ignored by my coworkers.
It’s no use fixing the car.
They’re fed up with listening the neighbours’ music.

7-We can use gerunds after phrasal verbs.

They ended up buying the air conditioner.
Jess has given up smoking.

8-We can use gerunds after other common phrasal verbs with the preposition ‘to’: look forward to, to be used to, to be accustomed to, in addition to, to take to, object to, to get around to.

In addition to having a well-paid job, she also has her own restaurant.

9-After the structure adjective + preposition.

I’m sad about having to go.
Jade is interested in learning a second language.
He is responsible for taking care of his grandparents.


3.- Participles are verb forms used as adjectives that modify nouns; there are three types of participles: present participles, past participles and perfect participles.

Present participles end in -ing.

What are the present participles used for?

1-We can use the present participles in continuous verb tenses (present continuous/progressive tense, past continuous/progressive tense, future continuous/progressive tense).

Mel is running.
Mel was running.
Mel will be running.

2-We can use the present participles as adjectives.

The chirping birds.

3-We can use the present participles as gerunds.

Smoking is prohibited in this shop.

Past Participles

Past participles end in -ed for regular verbs, but irregular verb have different endings.

What are the past participles used for?

1-We can use the past participles in perfect tenses (present perfect tense, past perfect tense, future perfect tense).

I have already sent the email.
They had turned off the lights by 10 o’clock.
The meeting will have finished by 3 o’clock.

2-We can use the past participles as adjectives.

We noticed a frozen lake next to the forest.

3-We can use the past participles in passive forms.

The damaged bike was fixed.

4-We can use the past participles in the causative.

I had my hair dyed.

Perfect Participles

We use the perfect participles to show an action that happened before another action or at a certain time in the past; we can also use them in the active and the passive.

Active (having + past participle)

Having finished the project, Louis went to sleep.

Passive (having been + past participle)

Having been fed, the dog played with its toys.

4-Finite verbs have a subject, a tense, a number and person. To identify them, make sure to find the subject and the tense.

She washed her face. (she = subject, washed = finite verb)
I am brushing my hair. (I = subject, am = finite verb)

5-Non-finite verbs do not have a subject, a tense, a number and person. There are three types of non-finite verbs: infinitive, participles and gerunds.

Infinitive: they love to travel.


Present: Nina is driving.
Past: Nina has reached her destination.
Gerund: reading is my favourite hobbie.

More information about verbs here.