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Certain words in English are always followed by the infinitive while others are always followed by the gerund. Take the following examples:

Before going to the store, you should make a list.

I’m worried about taking that exam.

It’s not easy to be a waiter.

In general it’s simply a matter of memorizing which words/expressions are followed by the infinitive and which by the gerund. However, sometimes the meaning changes depending on whether you use the infinitive as opposed to the gerund.

See if you can figure out the difference between these two sentences:

I stopped talking to her.

I stopped to talk to her.

In the first sentence talking is what you stopped doing. In the second sentence, we don’t know. We know that you stopped doing something (which is not stated) in order to talk to her.

 Tim Brust

Head of Studies

inlingua Ciudad Real