Infinitive or -ing?
Sometimes we need to decide whether to use a verb in its:
- -ing form (doing, singing)
- infinitive form (to do, to sing).
For example, only one of the following sentences is correct. Which one?
- I dislike working late. (???)
- I dislike to work late. (???)
When to use the infinitive
The infinitive form is used after certain verbs:
- forget, help, learn, teach, train
- choose, expect, hope, need, offer, want, would like
- agree, encourage, pretend, promise, recommend
- allow, can/can't afford, decide, manage, mean, refuse
- I forgot to close the window.
- Mary needs to leave early.
- Why are they encouraged to learn English?
- We can't afford to take a long holiday.
The infinitive form is always used after adjectives, for example:
- disappointed, glad, happy, pleased, relieved, sad, surprised
- I was happy to help them.
- She will be delighted to see you.
This includes too + adjective:
- The water was too cold to swim in.
- Is your coffee too hot to drink?
The infinitive form is used after adjective + enough:
- He was strong enough to lift it.
- She is rich enough to buy two.
When to use -ing
The -ing form is used when the word is the subject of a sentence or clause:
- Swimming is good exercise.
- Doctors say that smoking is bad for you.
The -ing form is used after a preposition:
- I look forward to meeting you.
- They left without saying "Goodbye."
The -ing form is used after certain verbs:
- avoid, dislike, enjoy, finish, give up, mind/not mind, practise
- I dislike getting up early.
- Would you mind opening the window?
Use of Passive
Passive voice is used when the focus is on the action. It is not important or not known, however, who or what is performing the action.
Example: My bike was stolen.
In the example above, the focus is on the fact that my bike was stolen. I do not know, however, who did it.
Sometimes a statement in passive is more polite than active voice, as the following example shows:
Example: A mistake was made.
In this case, I focus on the fact that a mistake was made, but I do not blame anyone (e.g. You have made a mistake.).
Form of Passive
Subject + finite form of to be + Past Participle (3rd column of irregular verbs)
Example: A letter was written.
When rewriting active sentences in passive voice, note the following:
- the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence
- the finite form of the verb is changed (to be + past participle)
- the subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence (or is dropped)
|Simple Present||Active:||Rita||writes||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||is written||by Rita.|
|Simple Past||Active:||Rita||wrote||a letter.|
|Passive:||A letter||was written||by Rita.|
Simple Future has two different forms in English: "will" and "be going to." Although the two forms can sometimes be used interchangeably, they often express two very different meanings. These different meanings might seem too abstract at first, but with time and practice, the differences will become clear. Both "will" and "be going to" refer to a specific time in the future.
[will + verb]
- You will help him later.
- Will you help him later?
- You will not help him later.
USE 1 "Will" to Express a Voluntary Action
"Will" often suggests that a speaker will do something voluntarily. A voluntary action is one the speaker offers to do for someone else. Often, we use "will" to respond to someone else's complaint or request for help. We also use "will" when we request that someone help us or volunteer to do something for us. Similarly, we use "will not" or "won't" when we refuse to voluntarily do something.
- I will send you the information when I get it.
- I will translate the email, so Mr. Smith can read it.
- Will you help me move this heavy table?
- Will you make dinner?
- I will not do your homework for you.
- I won't do all the housework myself!
- A: I'm really hungry.
B: I'll make some sandwiches.
- A: I'm so tired. I'm about to fall asleep.
B: I'll get you some coffee.
- A: The phone is ringing.
B: I'll get it.
USE 2 "Will" to Express a Promise
"Will" is usually used in promises.
- I will call you when I arrive.
- If I am elected President of the United States, I will make sure everyone has access to inexpensive health insurance.
- I promise I will not tell him about the surprise party.
- Don't worry, I'll be careful.
- I won't tell anyone your secret.
Like all future forms, the Simple Future cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of Simple Future, Simple Present is used.
- When you will arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Not Correct
- When you arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Correct
[VERB+ed] or irregular verbs
- You called Debbie.
- Did you call Debbie?
- You did not call Debbie.
USE 1 Completed Action in the Past
Use the Simple Past to express the idea that an action started and finished at a specific time in the past. Sometimes, the speaker may not actually mention the specific time, but they do have one specific time in mind.
- I saw a movie yesterday.
- I didn't see a play yesterday.
- Last year, I traveled to Japan.
- Last year, I didn't travel to Korea.
- Did you have dinner last night?
- She washed her car.
- He didn't wash his car.
USE 2 Duration in Past
The Simple Past can be used with a duration which starts and stops in the past. A duration is a longer action often indicated by expressions such as: for two years, for five minutes, all day, all year, etc.
- I lived in Brazil for two years.
- Shauna studied Japanese for five years.
- They sat at the beach all day.
- They did not stay at the party the entire time.
- We talked on the phone for thirty minutes.
- A: How long did you wait for them?
B: We waited for one hour.
USE 3 Habits in the Past
The Simple Past can also be used to describe a habit which stopped in the past. It can have the same meaning as "used to." To make it clear that we are talking about a habit, we often add expressions such as: always, often, usually, never, when I was a child, when I was younger, etc.
- I studied French when I was a child.
- He played the violin.
- He didn't play the piano.
- Did you play a musical instrument when you were a kid?
- She worked at the movie theater after school.
- They never went to school, they always skipped class.
You use CAN to express possibility, permission or ability. What shall tell you is the context. Check!
You CAN drive, because you are eighteen. - that means you are authorized to drive.
You CAN drive on the right - that means you have the permission to drive.
You CAN drive well! - that means you have the ability to drive.
We shall work only with the 3 below:
You should study. = advice
You must study. = obligation
You can study. = permission
S M V
I can drive
S M + not V
I can not drive
M S V
Can I drive?