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Unit 55. Verb + -ing or to … (1) (remember/regret etc.)
(глагол + -ing или infinitive 1)

When one verb follows another verb, the structure is usually verb + -ing or verb + to… . Compare:

verb + -ing

  • They denied stealing the money.

  • I enjoy going out.

Often we use -ing for an action that happens before the first verb or at the same time:

stealing <- denied enjoy <-> going

verb + to…

  • They decided to steal the money.

  • I want to go out.

Often we use to… for an action that follows the first verb:

decided -> to steal want -> to go

This difference is often helpful but does not explain all uses of -ing and to…

Some verbs can be followed by -ing or to… with a difference of meaning:

remember

I remember doing something = I did it and now I remember this.

You remember doing something after you have done it:

  • I'm absolutely sure I locked the door. I clearly remember locking it. (= I locked it, and now I remember this)

  • He could remember driving along the road just before the accident happened, but he couldn't remember the accident itself.

I remembered to do something = I remembered that I had to do it, and so I did it.

You remember to do something before you do it:

  • I remembered to lock the door when I left but I forgot to shut the windows. (= I remembered that I had to lock the door and so I locked it)

  • Please remember to post the letter. (= don't forget to post it)

regret

I regret doing something = I did it and now I'm sorry about it:

  • I now regret saying what I said. I shouldn'thave said it.

I regret to say / to tell you / to inform you = I'm sorry that I have to say (etc.):

  • (from a formal letter) We regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you the job.

go on

Go on doing something = continue doing the same thing:

  • The minister went on talking for two hours.

  • We must change our ways. We can't go on living like this.

Go on to do something = do or say something new:

  • After discussing the economy, the minister then went on to talk about foreign policy.

begin start intend continue bother

These verbs can be followed by -ing or to … with little or no difference in meaning. So you can say:

  • It has started raining. or It has started to rain.

  • John intends buying a house. or John intends to buy…

  • Don't bother locking the door. or Don't bother to lock…

But normally we do not use -ing after -ing:

  • It's starting to rain. (not ‘it's starting raining’)

See:

Verb + -ing see Unit 52.

Verb + to … see Unit 53, Unit 54.

Other verbs + -ing or to … see Unit 56, Unit 57.

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