Grammar Season

Verb patterns Episode

„The things you own end up owning you.” – Fight Club


‘The Narrator’ – a young urban professional who works for a major car manufacturer can’t sleep. He decides to participate in support groups of various kinds, always allowing the groups to assume that he suffers what they do. However, he begins to notice another impostor, Marla Singer, whose presence reminds him that he is attending these groups dishonestly, and this disturbs his bliss. The two negotiate to avoid their attending the same groups, but, before going their separate ways, Marla gives him her phone number.
On a flight home from a business trip, the Narrator meets Tyler Durden, a soap salesman with whom he begins to converse after noticing the two share the same kind of briefcase. Tyler seems to be everything that he’s not and together they create a men-only group for bare knuckle fighting. The fights also attract a following, others who not only want to watch but join in.
The fighting eventually moves to the bar’s basement where the men form a club (“Fight Club”) which routinely meets only to provide an opportunity for the men to fight recreationally.
Soon they become an anti-materialist and anti-corporate organization, Project Mayhem. When a member of the group is killed by the police during a botched sabotage operation, the Narrator tries to shut down the project.
He fails, and after a strange conversation between Marla, Tyler and him, he blacks out and when he awakes, he uncovers Tyler’s plans to erase debt by destroying buildings that contain credit card companies’ records.
The Narrator tries to warn the police, but he finds that these officers are members of the Project. He attempts to disarm the explosives in a building, but Tyler subdues him and moves him to the uppermost floor where the great finale is starting to unfold…



Verb Patterns


In general, we use gerunds (verb + ing):

  • After certain verbs:
    Tyler enjoys fighting.
  • After prepositions:
    “(…) But, before going their separate ways, Marla gives him her phone number.”
  • As the subject or object of a sentence:
    Fighting is good exercise.


We use ‘to’ + infinitive:

  • After certain verbs:
    He decided to participate in support groups.
  • After many adjectives:
    It’s difficult to get up early.
  • To show purpose:
    I came to London to study


We use the bare infinitive (the infinitive without ‘to’):

  • After modal verbs:
    I can meet you at eight o’clock.
  • After ‘let’, ‘make’ and (sometimes) ‘help’ :
    The teacher let us leave
  • After some verbs of perception (see, watch, hear, notice, feel, sense):
    I watched her walk
  • After expressions with ‘why’:
    Why go out the night before an exam?



Examples of verb patterns after certain verbs


With some verbs, especially those that explain, report or warn, after the main verb, you can sometimes use ’that’, sometimes a gerund (verb-ing form), other times an infinitive (with to), and other times, either a gerund or an infinitive.

Sentences that make promises, warnings, offers, suggestions or recommendations use these verb structures.

The best way to learn which of these verbs take ‘that’, infinitives, gerunds, or both, is to notice them when you read, or to use grammar references. Here is a list of some of the most common patterns.

NOTE: There are many more verbs and structures!


Verb + that clause


Accept, admit, agree, announce, assume, believe, check, claim, comment, complain, confirm, consider, decide, discover, doubt, expect, explain, feel, find (out), forget, guess, hear, hope, imagine, insist, know, mean, mention, notice, pretend, promise, prove, realise, reckon, remark, remember, repeat, reply, say, see, show, state, suggest, suppose, think, understand etc…:

  • Everyone agrees that we have to act quickly.
  • It’s easy to forget that she’s just a child.
  • Recent research proves that global warming is already a reality.
NOTE: An independent clause has a subject and a verb!


Verb + indirect object + that clause:

Advise, assure, convince, inform, persuade, promise, remind, tell, warn etc…:

  • Marla Singer reminds him that he is attending these groups dishonestly.



Verb + infinitive with to


Agree, aim, appear, arrange, ask, attempt, be able, beg, begin, care, choose, condescend, consent, continue, dare, decide, deserve, detest, dislike, expect, fail, forget, get, happen, have, hesitate, hope, hurry, intend, leap, leave, like, long, love, mean, neglect, negotiate offer, ought, plan, prefer, prepare, proceed, promise, propose, refuse, remember, say, seem, shoot, start, stop, strive, swear, threaten, try, use, wait, want, wish etc…:

  • I can´t afford to buy that house.
  • Tyler seems to be everything that he’s not.
  • He agreed to lend me some money.
  • You are not allowed to fight here.
  • He decides to participate in support groups.
  • The Narrator tries to warn the police.
  • He attempts to disarm the explosives.


Verb + object + infinitive with to:

Advise, allow, ask, beg, bring, build, buy, challenge, choose, command, dare, direct, encourage, expect, forbid, force, have, hire, instruct, invite, lead, leave, let, like, love, motivate, order, pay, permit, persuade, prepare, promise, remind, require, send, teach, tell, urge, want, warn etc…:

  • “(…) always allowing the groups to assume that he suffers what they do.”
  • Everyone expected him to win.



Verb + gerund


Admit, advise, appreciate, avoid, can’t help, complete, consider, delay, deny, detest, discuss, dislike, enjoy, escape, excuse, finish, forbid, get through, have, imagine, mind, miss, permit, postpone, practice, quit, recall, report, resent, resist, resume, risk, spend (time), suggest, tolerate, waste (time) etc…:

A gerund is the noun form of a verb. In these examples the clause with the gerund acts as the object of the verb.
  • He admitted eating the last biscuit.
  • He avoided writing the test.
  • Keep fighting!
  • Did you enjoy reading the book?
  • I don´t mind helping you.
  • He doesn´t allow smoking in his house.
  • He recommended staying in that hotel.


Verb + object + verb-ing:

appreciate, catch, dislike, dread, forbid, forget, forgive, hate, imagine, involve, like, love, miss, prevent, recall, recommend, regret, remember, risk, start, stop, can’t stand, tolerate etc…:

  • Imagine him doing push ups.
  • They caught him stealing.



Verbs + infinitive with to or gerund – same meaning


These verbs can be followed by either the gerund or the infinitive with NO change in meaning:

Begin, continue, start, prefer, love, hate, can’t bear, can’t stand

E.g.: It started to rain / It started raining.


Verbs + infinitive with to or gerund – different meaning

These verbs can be followed by either the gerund or the infinitive with a change in meaning:

like, remember, forget, try, stop, regret, need, mean, go on


Like + gerund:

We use like + -ing when we talk about hobbies and sth. We do with pleasure. Like=enjoy:

  • I like cooking and reading.

Like + to + infinitive:

When like doesn´t mean enjoy, but we talk about something we think is good

or right to do, or it is a habit:

  • I like to do the washing up immediately after the meal.
  • We like to eat out every Sunday.



Remember + gerund:

This is when you remember something that has happened in the past. You have a memory of it, like being able to see a movie of it in your head:

  • I remember going to the beach when I was a child. (= I have a memory of going to the beach).
  • He remembers closing the door. (= He has a memory of closing the door).


Remember + to + infinitive:

This is when you think of something that you need to do. (And usually, you then do the thing):

  • I remembered to buy milk. (= I was walking home and the idea that I needed milk came into my head, so I bought some).
  • She remembered to send a card to her grandmother.



Forget + gerund:

This is the opposite of remember + gerund. It’s when you forget about a memory, something that you’ve done in the past:

  • Have we really studied this topic before? I forget reading about it.
  • I told my brother that we’d spent Christmas at Granny’s house in 1985, but he’d forgotten going there.


Forget + to + infinitive:

This is the opposite of remember + to + infinitive. It’s when you want to do something, but you forget about it.

  • I forgot to call my mother. (= I wanted to call my mother, but when it was a good time to call her, I forgot. I was thinking about something else, and the idea to call my mother didn’t come into my head).
  • She keeps forgetting to bring his book back.



Try + gerund:

This is when you do something as an experiment. The thing you do is not difficult, but you want to see if doing it will have the result that you want:

  • I wanted to stop smoking, so I tried using nicotine patches. (= Using nicotine patches was easy, but I wanted to know if it would help me stop smoking).
  • She tried giving up chocolate, but it didn’t help her lose weight. (It was easy for her to give up chocolate. She gave it up to see if it would help her lose weight, but it didn’t).


Try + to + infinitive:

This is when the thing you do itself is difficult. In the present tense or future tense, this means you might not succeed in doing it. In the past tense, it means that you made an effort to do the thing, but you did not succeed:

  • I’ll try to carry the suitcase, but it looks too heavy for me.
  • She tried to catch the bus, but she couldn’t run fast enough.


Look at the difference:

  • I tried giving up chocolate (it was no problem to stop eating chocolate) but it didn’t make me feel more healthy.
  • I tried to give up chocolate, but it was too hard. I always ate some when my friends offered it to me.
  • It was too hot in the room. I tried opening the window (it was easy to open the window). It didn’t help though, because it was very hot outside too.
  • I tried to open the window, but I couldn’t because it was stuck.



Stop + gerund:

When we stop doing something it means the verb in the gerund is the thing that we stop. It can mean ‘stop forever’ or ‘stop at that moment’:

  • I stopped working when I was expecting a baby. (Working is the thing I stopped).
  • My grandmother stopped driving when she was 85. (Driving is the thing she stopped).
  • My boss came into the room, so I stopped browsing the internet.
  • There was a fire alarm, so I stopped eating and went outside.


Stop + to + infinitive:

In this case, we stop something else in order to do the verb in the infinitive:

  • I stopped to eat lunch. (I stopped something else, maybe working or studying, because I wanted to eat lunch.
  • She was shopping and she stopped to get a cup of coffee. (She stopped shopping because she wanted to get a cup of coffee).


Look at the difference:

  • I stopped smoking. (I gave up cigarettes OR I threw away my cigarette at that moment).
  • I stopped to smoke. (I stopped doing something else because I wanted to have a cigarette).



Regret + gerund:

This is when you are sorry about something you did in the past and you wish you hadn’t done it:

  • I regret going to bed so late. I’m really tired today.
  • She regrets leaving school when she was sixteen. She wishes that she had studied more and then gone to university.


Regret + to + infinitive:

We use this construction when we are giving someone bad news, in quite a formal way. The verb is almost always something like ‘say’ or ‘tell’ or ‘inform’:

  • I regret to tell you that the train has been delayed.
  • The company regrets to inform employees that the London office will close next year.



Need + gerund:

Something needs to be done about sth else (the meaning is passive):

  • Look at this room. It needs painting.


Need + to + infinitive:

It is necessary for me to do it:

  • He put on weight. He needs to take more exercise.
  • I need to do the shopping today.



Mean + gerund:

An impersonal subject, refers to what is involved:

  • If we catch an early train, it will mean getting up at 6.00.


Mean + to + infinitive:

= to intend:

  • Sorry, I meant to tell you about the party.



Go on + gerund:

To continue doing the same thing:

  • The minister paused for a moment and then went on talking about the education.


Go on + to + infinitive:

To start something new:

  • The minister talked about education and after a break he went on to talk about health care.


NOTE the verb 'help':

Help is followed by infinitive with or without to:
- Everybody helped (to) clean up.
- Everybody helped her (to) clean up.
I can´t help doing something = I can´t stop myself from doing something:
- I tried to be serious but I couldn´t help laughing.



Verb + (that) clause:

In these examples the clause that comes after the verb is that verb’s object. You can leave out that.

  • I understand (that) you weren’t happy with your pay rise.
    (To understand something)





When using negative forms with the infinitive, not goes before the to part of the verb.
We were warned not to miss the last train of the evening. For negatives with gerunds or that + independent clauses, the not goes before the gerund or infinitive part of the phrase.

  • My coach recommends not eating before practice.
  • The taxi driver asked that we not smoke in the taxi.



  • Did the manager suggest selling the new product at the market?
  • When did Maurice promise to telephone in the morning?



Be careful not to confuse the to used in an infinitive with the preposition to.

  • We propose to finish by December. (propose to = intend to)
  • Stephen proposed to Nora over dinner. (propose to = ask to marry)
  • Dr Jacobson invited his students to hear a special lecture.
    (invite someone to hear = ask someone to listen)
  • We would like to invite you to a party on Saturday.
    (invite someone to = ask someone to come)




End up:
To finally be in a particular place or situation.

The fact that someone or something is in a place.

Not honest(ly): NOT telling the truth or not able to be trusted.  Likely to steal, cheat, or lie.

To pull or draw someone or something towards them, by the qualities they have, especially good ones.

(A way of) enjoying yourself when you are not working.

Someone who believes that having money and possessions is the most important thing in life.

Against large companies.

Used to describe something, usually a job, that is done badly.

Somebody blacks out:
To become unconscious suddenly but for a short period.

To discover something secret or hidden or remove something covering something else.

To reduce the force of something, or to prevent something from existing or developing.

In the highest position or having the most importance.