Verb + -ing or to... (1)

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Verb + -ing or to... (1)
remember/regret etc.

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


verb + -ing
  verb + to...
They denied stealing the money.  They decided to steal the money.
I enjoy going out.  I want to go out.
Often we use -ing for an action that happens before the first verb or at the same time: Often we use to... for an action that follows the first verb:
denied <— stealing 
 decided —> to steal
enjoy <—> going want —> to go

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

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


I remember doing something = I did it and now I remember this. 
  I remembered to do something = I remembered that I had to do it, and so I did it.
You remember doing something after you have done it:  You remember to do something before you do it:
I'm absolutely sure I locked the door. I clearly remember locking it.  (= I locked it, and now I remember this)  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)
He could remember driving along the road just before the accident happened, but he couldn't remember the accident itself. Please remember to post the letter. (= don't forget to post it)


I regret doing something = I did it and now I'm sorry about it: 
 I regret to say / to tell you / to inform you = I'm sorry that I have to say (etc.):
I now regret saying what I said. I shouldn't have said it.  (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:
 Go on to do something = do or say something new:
The minister went on talking for two hours.  After discussing the economy, the minister then went on to talk about foreign policy.
We must change our ways. We can't go on living like this. 

C. 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')



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