Sie sind auf Seite 1von 47

Verb patterns: verb + infinitive or verb + -ing?

Grammar > Verbs > Verb patterns > Verb patterns: verb + infinitive or verb + -ing?

de English Grammar Today

Verbs followed by a to-infinitive

Some verbs can be followed immediately by a to-infinitive:

afford demand like pretend

agree fail love promise

arrange forget manage refuse

ask hate mean (= intend) remember

begin help need start

choose hope offer try

continue intend plan want

decide learn prefer

I can’t afford to go on holiday.


It began to rain.
She hopes to go to university next year.
My mother never learnt to swim.
Did you remember to ring Nigel?

See also:
 Help somebody (to) do
 Want
 Verbs followed by a direct object and a to-infinitive

Verbs followed by -ing

-ing but not to-infinitive

Some verbs are normally followed by the -ing form, not the to-infinitive:

admit deny finish mind

avoid dislike give up miss

(can’t) help enjoy imagine practise

(can’t) stand fancy involve put off

consider feel like keep (on) risk

I always enjoy cooking.


Not: I always enjoy to cook.
We haven’t finished eating yet.
Not: We haven’t finished to eat.
She keeps changing her mind about the wedding.

New subject before -ing

Some of these verbs (e.g. can’t stand, dislike, imagine, involve, mind, miss, put
off and risk) can be used with a new subject before the -ing form (underlined in the
examples below). If the new subject is a pronoun, it is in the object form (me, him,
her, us, them):

We just couldn’t imagine Gerry singing in public.


Do you mind me being here while you’re working?
I don’t want to risk him losing his job.

See also:
 Verbs followed by -ing
Verbs followed by a to-infinitive or -ing

Hate, like, love, prefer

Hate, like, love and prefer can be followed either by -ing or a to-infinitive. The
difference in meaning is often small. The -ing form emphasises the verb itself.
The to-infinitive puts the emphasis more on the preference for, or the results of, the
action.
Compare

-ing form to-infinitive

I love cooking Indian food. (emphasis I like to drink juice in the morning, and tea at
on the process itself and enjoyment of lunchtime. (emphasis more on the preference or
it) habit)

She hates cleaning her I hate to be the only person to


room. (emphasis on the process itself disagree. (emphasis more on the result: I would
and no enjoyment of it) prefer not to be in that situation.)

We prefer to drive during the day whenever we


Most people prefer watching a film at
can. (emphasis more on the result and on the
the cinema rather than on
habit or preference. The speaker doesn’t
TV. (emphasis on the process itself and
necessarily enjoy the process of driving at any
enjoyment of it)
time of day.)

Hate, like, love, prefer with would or should

When hate, like, love and prefer are used with would or should, only the to-infinitive
is used, not the -ing form:

She’d love to get a job nearer home.


Not: She’d love getting a job nearer home.
Would you like to have dinner with us on Friday?

To-infinitive or -ing form with a change in meaning

Some verbs can be followed by a to-infinitive or the -ing form, but with a change in
meaning:
go on need remember try

mean regret stop want

Compare

-ing form to-infinitive

Working in London means


leaving home at 6.30. (Because I I didn’t mean to make you cry. (I didn’t intend to
work in London, this is the result or make you cry.)
consequence.)

He went on singing after everyone She recited a poem, then went on to sing a lovely
else had finished. (He continued folk song. (She recited the poem first, then she
singing without stopping.) sang the song.)

I tried searching the web and finally


I tried to email Simon but it bounced back. (I
found an address for him. (I searched
tried/attempted to email him but I did not
the web to see what information I
succeed.)
could find.)

She stopped crying as soon as she We stopped to buy some water at the motorway
saw her mother. (She was crying, and service area. (We were travelling and we stopped
then she didn’t cry anymore.) for a short time in order to buy some water.)

See also:
 Mean
 Need
 Remember or remind?
 Stop + -ing form or to-infinitive
 Want
Verbs followed by an infinitive without to

Let, make

Let and make are followed by an infinitive without to in active voice sentences.
They always have an object (underlined) before the infinitive:

Let me show you this DVD I’ve got.


They made us wait while they checked our documents.
Not: They made us to wait …

Help

Help can be followed by an infinitive without to or a to-infinitive:

She helped me find a direction in life.


Everyone can help to reduce carbon emissions by using public transport.

See also:
 Help somebody (to) do
 Let, let’s
 Make

Verbs followed by -ing or an infinitive without to

A group of verbs connected with feeling, hearing and seeing can be used with -
ing or with an infinitive without to:

feel notice see

hear overhear watch

When they are used with -ing, these verbs emphasise the action or event in
progress. When they are used with an infinitive without to, they emphasise the
action or event seen as a whole, or as completed.
Compare
-ing infinitive without to

She heard people shouting in the street


I heard someone shout ‘Help!’, so I ran to
below and looked out of the
the river. (emphasises the whole event: the
window. (emphasises that the shouting
person probably shouted only once)
probably continued or was repeated)

A police officer saw him running along the Emily saw Philip run out of Sandra’s
street. (emphasises the running as it was office. (emphasises the whole event from
happening) start to finish)

Verbs followed by a direct object and a to-infinitive

Some verbs are used with a direct object (underlined) followed by a to-infinitive.
These verbs include:

advise hate like persuade request

ask help love prefer teach

challenge instruct need recommend tell

choose intend order remind want

forbid invite

I advised him to get a job as soon as possible.


Did Martin teach Gary to play squash?
They want me to go to Germany with them.

Búsquedas populares

 01Made from, made of, made out of, made with


 02Suffixes
 03Formal and informal language
 04While and whilst
 05Quiet or quite?
 06First, firstly or at first?
 07Adjectives: order
 08Other, others, the other or another?
 09Different from, different to or different than?
 10Verbs

Test your vocabulary with our fun image quizzes

Image credits
Try a quiz now

BLOG

Dreary and mind-numbing: interesting ways of saying ‘boring’

September 25, 2019

Aprende más

To top
Contenido

Aplicaciones del diccionario


Explora nuestras aplicaciones hoy y asegúrate de estar a la última.

 APRENDE
 DESARROLLAR
 QUIÉNES SOMOS

© Cambridge University Press 2019


Este sitio web utiliza cookies. Para obtener más información, visita la política de
privacidad y cookies Privacy and Cookies Policy. Aceptar y ocultar este mensaje

Tu buscador de gramática inglesa


Verb patterns
Ejercicio 1

Ejercicio 2

Entradas relacionadas
Present simple

The verb to be

The verb have got

There is / there are

Phrasal verbs

Verbs and prepositions

Gerunds
Categorías 19

Ver todas ›

Adjectives

Adverbs

Articles

Asking questions

Avoiding repetition

Descubre el secreto de nuestro método para hablar inglés

Verb patterns
Verbs
Compartir:

Practica con los ejercicios:

Ejercicio 1 Ejercicio 2

1. Los verb patterns (II)

Los verb patterns son estructuras gramaticales compuestas por dos verbos que van seguidos.
I like playing the piano.
Me gusta tocar el piano
Do you want to go to the cinema?

¿Quieres ir al cine?

2. ¿Cómo se utilizan los verb patterns?

En función del primer verbo, el siguiente se utilizará en forma de gerundio (-ing) o infinitivo.

 Ejemplos de verbos que van seguidos por un verbo en gerundio:


1ST VERB 2ND VERB IN -ING

He admitted having broken


AdmitAdmitir the window.Él admitió
haber roto la ventana.

I'm considering moving to


a bigger
ConsiderConsiderar flat.Estoy considerando
mudarme a un piso más
grande.

I
can't imagine living without
ImagineImaginar
you.No me imagino vivir sin
ti.

Being on a
diet involves eating more
InvolveImplicar / suponer fruit and vegetables.Estar a
dieta implica comer más
fruta y verdura.

I miss not having my


children at home.Echo de
MissEchar de menos
menos no tener a mis hijos
en casa.

Keep working like


KeepSeguir
this.Seguid trabajando así.

I recommend using oral


RecommendRecomendar rinse after brushing your
teeth.Recomiendo
usar enjuague bucal
1ST VERB 2ND VERB IN -ING

después de lavarse los


dientes

We'll have
to postpone painting the
fence until it stops
PostponePosponer / aplazar raining.Tendremos
que posponer pintar la
valla hasta que pare de
llover.

 Ejemplos de verbos que van seguidos por un verbo en infinitivo:

1ST VERB 2ND VERB IN -TO

We arranged to meet at
ArrangeQuedar en six.Quedamos en
reunirnos a las seis.

He refused to listen to
RefuseNegarse a me.Él se negó a
escucharme.

What do you plan to


PlanPlanear / tener pensado do today?¿Qué tienes
pensado hacer hoy?

Mary has offered to go to


the dentist with
OfferOfrecerse
me.Mary se ha ofrecido a
acompañarme al dentista.
1ST VERB 2ND VERB IN -TO

How did you manage to


remove the stain from
your
ManageLograr / conseguir
jacket?¿Cómo conseguiste
sacar la mancha de tu
chaqueta?

She seems to have no


idea of what's going
SeemParecer on.Ella parece no tener ni
idea de lo que está
pasando.

I expect to finish the


project next week.Espero
ExpectEsperar
terminar el proyecto la
semana que viene.

He deserves to be among
the top three.Él merece
DeserveMerecer
estar entre los tres
primeros.

3. Las diferencias entre los verb patterns

Hay ciertos verbos que pueden ir seguidos tanto por un verbo en –ing como por uno en infinitivo
con el to, aunque su significado o uso tiene diferencias.

TRY TO (intentar)

Se utiliza cuando quieres realizar una acción, pero no lo consigues.


- I'm trying to improve the taste of the soup.

- Estoy intentando mejorar el sabor de la sopa.

TRY + ing (probar)

Se utiliza cuando quieres realizar una acción, pero no lo consigues.


- Try adding a bit of white pepper.

- Prueba a añadir un poco de pimienta blanca.

STOP TO (parar para)

Se utiliza cuando paras para realizar otra acción.


He was studying and he stopped to watch TV.

Estaba estudiando y paró para mirar la tele.

STOP + ing (parar de / dejar de)

Se utiliza cuando quieres expresar que dejas de realizar una acción que está teniendo lugar.
Stop watching TV and tidy your room.

Para de mirar la tele y ordena tu habitación.

REMEMBER TO acordarse

Se utiliza cuando tenemos que acordarnos de realizar una acción en el futuro. Primero nos acordamos de
la acción y después la realizamos.
- Did you remember to lock the door?

- ¿Te acordaste de cerrar la puerta con llave?

REMEMBER + ing (recordar haber)

Se utiliza cuando nos acordamos de haber realizado una acción en el pasado. Primero realizamos la
acción y después recordamos que la hemos hecho.
- Yes, I remember locking the door.

- Sí, recuerdo haber cerrado la puerta con llave.

FORGET TO (olvidarse)

Se utiliza cuando nos hemos olvidado de realizar una acción. La acción no se ha hecho.
I forgot to talk to Peter about the trip.

Me olvidé de hablar con Peter del viaje.

FORGET + ing (olvidar haber)

Se utiliza generalmente con never y con el futuro will para una acción memorable del pasado.
I will never forget talking to Peter for the first time.

Nunca olvidaré la primera vez que hablé con Peter.

REGRET TO (lamentar)

Se utiliza cuando lamentamos tener que realizar una acción o dar malas noticias.
I regret to tell you that the flight is late.

Lamento decirle que el vuelo va con retraso.

REGRET + ing (lamentar / arrepentirse)

Se utiliza cuando nos arrepentimos de haber o no haber realizado una acción.


I regret not having taken a parasol.

Lamento no haber cogido un paraguas.

MEAN TO (pensar / tener intención de)

Se utiliza cuando tenemos intención de realizar una acción.


I meant to call you, but I couldn't.

Tenía intención de llamarte, pero no pude.

MEAN + ing (implicar)

Se utiliza cuando una acción o situación implica que otra acción tenga lugar.
Accepting the job means moving to Italy.

Aceptar el trabajo implica mudarse a Italia.

NEED TO (tener que / necesitar)

Se utiliza cuando el sujeto tiene que hacer la acción.


I need to paint my room.

Necesito pintar mi habitación.

NEED + ing (hay que)

Se utiliza cuando hay que realizar una acción, no importa quién la haga.
This room needs painting.

Hay que pintar esta habitación.

¡Recuerda!

Los verb patterns son estructuras gramaticales compuestas por dos verbos que van seguidos. En
función del verbo principal, el segundo verbo se utilizara en infinitivo precedido por la partícula to,
o bien por un verbo en gerundio.
VERBS FOLLOWED BY -ING

ConsiderConsiderar AdmitAdmitir

ImagineImaginar PostponePosponer

InvolveImplicar / suponer RecommendRecomendar

MissExtrañar KeepMantener

VERBS FOLLOWED BY TO

RefuseNegarse SeemParecer

PlanPlanear DeserveMerecer

OfferOfrecer ExpectEsperar

ManageGestionar ArrangeOrganizar

VERBS FOLLOWED BY -ING AND TO

TryProbar / Intentar StopParar para / Dejar de

Need
RememberRecordar /
Hay que / Tener que /
Acordarse
Necesitar
VERBS FOLLOWED BY -ING AND TO

RegretArrepentirse /
MeanImplicar / Pensar
Lamentar

Compartir:

¿Quieres ver cómo funciona Lewolang?


Te lo explicamos en el siguiente vídeo:

¿NECESITAS AYUDA?

 +57 314 463 1787


 Formulario de contacto
 Preguntas frecuentes

ENCUENTRANOS EN

 Facebook
 Instagram
 Twitter
 YouTube

ACERCA DE

 Condiciones generales de contratación


 Condiciones de uso
 Política de privacidad y redes sociales
 Política de cookies
 Gramática inglesa
 Aprender inglés
 Mapa web

© 2019 Lewolang S.L.. Todos los derechos reservados


Este sitio web utiliza Cookies propias y de terceros de análisis para recopilar información con la
finalidad de mejorar nuestros servicios, así como para el análisis de su navegación. Si continua
navegando, supone la aceptación de la instalación de las mismas.

Aceptar

Grammar Reference
Verb patterns: gerunds and infinitives
Meaning and use

Gerunds are the -ing form of a verb, and infinitives are the to + base form. These
words can be confusing; they combine the meaning of a verb with the grammar of a
noun.

 My father asked me to phone him. I enjoy talking with my father.

So, how is ‘to phone’ like a noun? Imagine the first sentence said: My father asked
me a question. You can see how a question and to phone have the same
grammatical role. Similarly, you could replace ‘talking’ with the noun conversation.

Using gerunds and infinitives correctly with verbs can be difficult because some verbs
go with only the infinitive or only the gerund, and others can go with either one.

 I enjoy going to the movies. (enjoy + -ing form only)


 Jason wants to visit a museum on Friday. (want + infinitive form only)
 Tony likes eating at restaurants. Tony likes to eat at restaurants. (like + either -ing or
infinitive form)

Another difficulty is that sometimes choosing the infinitive or the gerund will change
the meaning of the sentence.

 Mary stopped eating at six.


(Mary was eating, and at six o’clock, she stopped.)
 Mary stopped to eat at six.
(Mary was walking home, and at six o’clock she stopped walking and went into a café to eat.)

The best way to learn which verbs take infinitives, gerunds, or both, is to notice them
in context when you read, or to consult grammar references. Here are some of the
most common verbs:

Followed by a gerund (-ing form)

admit, advise, consider, discuss, dislike, dread, enjoy, finish, mind, practise,
recommend, suggest

Followed by an infinitive
agree, appear, choose, decide, expect, fail, hope, learn, need, refuse, seem, wait,
want

Followed by either, usually with no change in meaning

begin, continue, hate, like, love, prefer, start

Followed by either, with a change in meaning

forget, regret, remember, stop, try

Form

Gerunds and infinitives can follow verbs in the form verb + -ing form of the
verb or verb + infinitive (to + base form of the verb).

Positive

 Theresa suggested going to the park.


 Ross decided to go home instead.

Negative

The negative form is verb + not + gerund/infinitive.

 My grandparents have retired and enjoy not working.


 Frank hopes not to travel over the holidays.

Question

 What did the doctor advise taking for your cold?


 Do you need to do your laundry this weekend?

Take note: ‘split’ infinitives

A ‘split infinitive’ has an adverb between to and the verb.

 It is important to thoroughly study for an examination.


 His sister seems to really want a cat.

Some people think split infinitives are ungrammatical. If you are writing formal
English, it is best to avoid using them in your writing.

Take note: possessives

Remember that gerunds are types of nouns, so you can use possessive adjectives
like my, your, his, her, etc.

 Do you mind my going out for a while?


 I like his planning our holidays for us
Esta web utiliza cookies para mejorar la experiencia y proporcionar funcionalidades
adicionales. Política de privacidad

Ok

 Inglés


 Gramática
 Verbos
 El infinitivo y el gerundio en inglés

El infinitivo y el gerundio en inglés


Introducción

Las estructuras verbales en inglés que se componen de un verbo seguido de un


infinitivo con la preposición to o seguido de un gerundio, o -ing form, se
denominan verb patterns.

El infinitivo es la forma básica del verbo. Los infinitivos en inglés no tienen una
terminación particular, como sí ocurre en español. A veces van precedidos de la
partícula to, dependiendo del verbo, adjetivo o sustantivo que lo siga; por
ejemplo: (to) be, (to) have, (to) do.

El gerundio se forma añadiendo -ing al infinitivo. Se trata de una forma no personal


del verbo que en una oración cumple la función de un sustantivo. Puede ir
después de determinados verbos, preposiciones y adjetivos. No debe confundirse
con el gerundio en español, pues corresponde al participio presente en inglés.

El uso de infinitivos o gerundios suele variar entre los idiomas. Cuando en inglés
se exige un gerundio, suele tener que usarse un infinitivo en español. En este
apartado aprenderás a identificar los casos en los que se debe usar un verbo en
infinitivo o en gerundio en inglés. En la sección de ejercicios puedes practicar y
perfeccionar tus habilidades gramaticales.

Infinitivo

El infinitivo es la forma básica del verbo. Se utiliza precedido o no de


la preposición to. Se utiliza:

 después de ciertos adjetivos;


Ejemplo:

It was impossible to go back.


 después de ciertos sustantivos;

Ejemplo:

There was no need to get angry.


 después de ciertas expresiones, sin la preposición to;

Ejemplo:

I would rather stay at home.


 después de ciertos verbos, acompañados o no de un complemento.

Ejemplo:

We might stay at home.


 después de ciertos verbos + un pronombre interrogativo.

Ejemplo:

We didn’t know where to go.


 para expresar propósito o responder a la pregunta «¿porqué?»
Ejemplo:

Why did Claudia go to the shop?


She went to the shop to buy some milk.

Infinitivo de propósito

El infinitivo lleva la preposición to cuando expresa un propósito o responde a las


preguntas «¿por qué?» o «¿para qué?»

Ejemplo:

Why did Claudia go to the shop?


She went to the shop to buy some milk.
Palabras seguidas de un infinitivo

Consulta en este apartado los adjetivos, verbos y pronombres que rigen el uso de
un infinitivo con o sin la preposición to.

Leer más...

Gerundio

El gerundio (en inglés: present participle) se forma añadiendo el sufijo -ing al


infinitivo del verbo, por lo que se conoce también como la ing-form. Se trata de un
verbo que se comporta como un sustantivo en una oración. Se utiliza en los
siguientes casos:

 si el sujeto de una oración es un verbo;

Ejemplo:

Cycling is good for your health.


 después de ciertas preposiciones;

Ejemplo:

Instead of studying for her exams, she went out every night.
 después de ciertos adjetivos que van seguidos además de un preposición;

Ejemplo:

I am interested in visiting the museum.


 después de ciertos sustantivos, sin importar si llevan o no una preposición;

Ejemplo:

There’s no point in waiting any longer.


 después de ciertos verbos, con o sin preposición.

Ejemplo:

I enjoy cooking.
Nota

Por lo general, para formar el gerundio basta con añadir -ing a un verbo. Sin
embargo, en ciertas ocasiones es necesario llevar a cabo algún cambio en la
ortografía de la palabra. Consulta el apartado Participios para saber más.

Palabras seguidas de un gerundio

La siguiente lista reúne adjetivos, verbos, pronombres, preposiciones y verbos que


exigen el uso de un gerundio a continuación.

Leer más...

Infinitivo o Gerundio

Hay verbos en inglés que admiten tanto un infinitivo como un gerundio a


continuación. En ocasiones, esta elección conlleva además un cambio en el
significado de la expresión final.

Sin cambio de significado

Los verbos del listado siguiente admiten tanto un infinitivo como un gerundio. La
oración no varía su significado.

Ejemplo:

I started to read./I started reading.


 attempt
 begin
 bother
 cannot bear
 cease
 continue
 hate
 intend
 love
 prefer
 start

Sin cambio de significado, con o sin complemento

Los verbos de la tabla también pueden ir seguidos tanto de un infinitivo como de


un gerundio sin variar el significado de la oración. El infinitivo se emplea en
oraciones que llevan un complemento directo o indirecto y el gerundio en las
oraciones que no llevan ningún complemento.
Infinitivo Gerundio
Verbo
(oraciones con complemento) (oraciones sin complemento)

advise I advise you to go by bus. I advise going by bus.

They do not allow people to smoke in They do not allow smoking in the
allow/permit
the building. building.

The teacher has


The teacher has forbidden his
forbid forbidden using mobile phones in
students to use mobile phones in class.
class.

Con cambio de significado


Verbo Significado con infinitivo Significado con gerundio

se refiere al futuro se refiere al pasado


forget/remember
Remember to switch off the Do you remember losing your first
lights. tooth?
empezar a hacer algo nuevo continuar con lo mismo
go on
After his studies he went He stopped reading, looked up a word
on to become a teacher. and then went on reading.
lamentar algo que está por
ocurrir lamentar algo que sucedió en el pasado
regret
I regret to say that you I regret saying that I hated her.
cannot come with us.
parar de moverse dejar de hacer algo
stop
I stopped to smoke. I stopped smoking.
hacer algo complicado intentar algo sin conocer el resultado
try
I tried to solve this riddle, We tried baking the cake without flour,
but I couldn’t. but it did not work.

Ejercicios online para aprender inglés

Infinitivo/Gerundio - Ejercicios
 Infinitivo/gerundio - ejercicios
 Declaración de privacidad
 Aviso Legal
 Facebook

 DE
 EN
 ES
 FR
 IT

English français Deutsch ελληνικά italiano język polski português română es


pañol

 INICIO
 VOCABULARY UPDATED
 GRAMÁTICA
 VIDEO LESSONS
 DICTADO
 INICIAR SESIÓN / SOBRE NOSOTROS

Inicio Gramática intermedio Patrones verbales: gerundio o infinitivo

Patrones verbales: gerundio o infinitivo


(Verb patterns: gerund or infinitive)

Introducción
Si se usan dos verbos en una oración, por ejemplo, para describir una opinión o la intención
de realizar una acción, el segundo verbo toma ya sea la forma de gerundio o el infinitivo con
"to".

El gerundio es la forma " ing "de un verbo.

Algunos verbos sólo pueden ser seguidos por un gerundio, otros pueden preceder al verbo en
el infinitivo con "to" y ambas formas pueden preceder algunos verbos determinados.

Ejemplos:

gerundio solo:

 I fancy going to the cinema.

infinitivo con "to" solo:

 I want to go to the cinema.

gerundio o infinitivo con "to":

 I like going to the cinema.


 I like to go to the cinema.
En estos ejemplos, no hay diferencia en el significado.

Forma
No existen reglas claras sobre cuándo se usan elgerundio o el infinitivo después del verbo
principal; se deben aprender las formas correctas.

He aquí algunos ejemplos (se muestra aquí el presente simple del verbo principal, pero las
mismas formas del segundo verbo se aplican cuando se usan otros tiempos verbales).

 Estos verbos sólo pueden ser seguidos con un gerundio:

verbo
Sujeto: gerundio
principal

I allow in the
(con la forma correcta del verbo principal de avoid walking
countryside.
"You" / "We" / "They" / "He" / "She" / "It") detest
verbo
Sujeto: gerundio
principal

enjoy
fancy

 Estos verbos sólo pueden ser seguidos con el infinitivo con "to:

verbo infinitivo
Sujeto: principal con "to"

decide
expect
hope
manage
I
offer in the
(con la forma correcta del verbo principal de to walk
plan countryside.
"You" / "We" / "They" / "He" / "She" / "It")
promise
refuse
want
wish

 Estos verbos pueden ser seguidos con un gerundio o infinitivo con "to" sin que cambie
el significado:

gerundio /
verbo
Sujeto: infinitivo con
principal
"to"

begin
I
hate
(con la forma correcta del verbo principal to walk in the
like
de "You" / "We" / "They" / "He" / "She" / walking countryside.
love
"It")
prefer
Práctica

Skip to main content

Search form

Search

You are here


Home » English Grammar » Verbs

Clause structure and verb patterns


Level: elementary

Clause structure

All clauses in English have at least two parts, a noun phrase (subject) and
a verb phrase:

Noun phrase (subject) Verb phrase

The children laughed.


Noun phrase (subject) Verb phrase

All the people in the bus were watching.

But most clauses have more than two parts:

Noun phrase (subject) Verb phrase

John wanted a new bicycle.

All of the girls are learning English.

This soup tastes awful.

Mary and the family were driving to Madrid.

She put the flowers in a vase.

The first noun phrase of a sentence is the subject. English


clauses always have a subject:

His father has just retired. He was a teacher. (NOT Was a


teacher.)
I'm waiting for my wife. She is late. (NOT Is late.)

except for the imperative, which is used for orders, invitations and
requests:
Stop!
Please come to dinner tomorrow.
Play it again, please.

If we have no other subject, we use there or it. We call this a dummy


subject:

There were twenty people at the meeting.


There will be an eclipse of the moon tonight.
It's a lovely day.
It's nearly one o’clock.

What's the subject?

Verb patterns

Different verbs have different patterns, so the structure of the clause


depends on the verb.

Transitive and intransitive verbs


Most verbs in English are either transitive or intransitive. A transitive
verb has the structure noun + verb + noun:

Noun (subject) Verb Noun (object)

John wanted a new bicycle.

Transitive verbs need an object. Common transitive verbs are:

bring enjoy make want


buy like take wear

An intransitive verb has the structure noun + verb:


Noun (subject) Verb

John smiled.

Intransitive verbs do not have an object. Common intransitive verbs


are:

arrive die happen smile


cry fall laugh work

Some verbs can be either transitive or intransitive:

She sang a wonderful aria. Transitive: N + V + N


We were singing. Intransitive: N + V

We were playing football. Transitive: N + V + N


We were just playing. Intransitive: N + V

Common verbs like this are:

draw help ride watch


follow learn study write

Transitive or intransitive?

Other patterns
Some verbs are both transitive and intransitive, but the object when
they are transitive is the same as the subject when they are
intransitive:
Peter closed the door. Transitive: N + V + N
The door closed. Intransitive: N + V

I boiled some water. Transitive: N + V + N


The water boiled. Intransitive: N + V

These are called ergative verbs.

There are other kinds of verb patterns. For example:

 link verbs have the structure Noun + Verb + Adjective (She looks happy) or
Noun + Verb + Noun (He became a teacher).

 some two-part verbs can have the structure Noun + Verb + Particle + Noun
(She gave back the money) or Noun + Verb + Noun + Particle (She gave the
money back).

 double object verbs have the structure: Noun + Verb + Noun + Noun
(Peter sent his mother some flowers).

 verbs followed by the infinitive (We planned to take a holiday.)

 verbs followed by the -ing form (I love swimming.)

 verbs with that, wh- and if clauses (She said that …, He explained what
…, He asked if … .) These are often reporting verbs.

Verb patterns

 Link verbs
 Multi-word verbs
 Double object verbs
 Verbs followed by the infinitive
 Verbs followed by the '-ing' form
 Reporting verbs with 'that', 'wh-' and 'if' clauses
 Reported speech
 Ergative verbs

BackNext
COURSES

 Find an online English course


 Find a course in a language school

HELP & SUPPORT

 Getting started
 English level test
 House Rules
 Frequently asked questions
 Sign up for newsletter

English Grammar

 Pronouns
 Determiners and quantifiers
 Possessives
 Adjectives
 Adverbials
 Nouns
 Verbs
o Verb phrases
o Irregular verbs
o Questions and negatives
o Short forms
o The verb 'be'
o Present tense
o Past tense
o Perfect aspect
o Continuous aspect
o Modal verbs
o Active and passive voice
o 'to'-infinitives
o '-ing' forms
o Talking about the present
o Talking about the past
o Talking about the future
o Verbs in time clauses and 'if' clauses
o Wishes and hypotheses
o Clause structure and verb patterns
 Link verbs
 Multi-word verbs
 Double object verbs
 Verbs followed by the infinitive
 Verbs followed by the '-ing' form
 Reporting verbs with 'that', 'wh-' and 'if' clauses
 Reported speech
 Ergative verbs
o Delexical verbs: 'have', 'take', 'make', 'give', 'go' and 'do'
 Creativity is GREAT - Part 1
 Creativity is GREAT - Part 2
 English is GREAT - Part 1
 Entrepreneurs are GREAT - Part 1
 Entrepreneurs are GREAT - Part 2
 Green is GREAT - Part 1
 Green is GREAT - Part 2
 Heritage is GREAT - Part 2
 Innovation is GREAT - Part 2
 Knowledge is GREAT - Part 1

BACK TO TOP

 Twitter
 Facebook
 Email

 Terms of use

 Accessibility

 Privacy and cookies

 Contact us

 Site map

© British Council
The United Kingdom's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.
A registered charity: 209131 (England and Wales) SC037733 (Scotland).

ICP#: 10044692