[Grammar] Differences Between “To Do” And “Doing”

Hey guys! Check the answers to the last episode:

1.B 2.C 3.C

Are you sometimes unsure whether you should use “do”, “to do” or “doing” for the verb in your sentence?

Today we’re gonna talk about the Gerund and the Infinitive.


1.Gerund: “doing”

Gerunds are words that are formed with verbs but act as nouns. They’re very easy to spot, since every gerund is a verb with ing tacked to its tail. There are no exceptions to this rule.

stop doing; enjoy doing; suggest doing; avoid doing, etc.

2.The to-infinitive: “to do”

An infinitive is formed from a verb but acts as a noun, adjective, or adverb, and it is actually made up of two words: to + verb.

want to do; would like to do; need to do; decide to do; it’s time to do, etc.

Because an infinitive is not a verb, you cannot add “s”, “es”, “ed”, or “ing” to the end.


3.verbs that can be followed by either “to do” or “doing”:

like/love/prefer doing or to do; start/ begin/continue doing or to do; bother doing or to do, etc.

Some verbs completely change meaning when they’re followed by either a to-infinitive or a gerund.


  • stop doing = not to do something anymore

stop smoking cigarettes, it’s bad for your health!

  • stop to do = to pause or leave one action to do another

I was so busy, I didn’t even stop to have lunch!

You may ask:

How to know which verbs change meaning when followed by a gerund or an infinitive?

The only trick is to learn them. You need to get familiar with different verb patterns and practise using them. Look up in a dictionary if necessary.


4.After prepositions: doing

Prepositions must be followed by gerund:

after doing; in doing; before doing, etc.

The word “to” is also a preposition, and there are a few expression with the preposition “to”:

be used to doing; look forward to doing; committed to doing, etc.

5.The zero infinitive

The zero infinitive is used after verbs of perception (see, feel, hear), all modal verbs (can, must, should, etc.), many auxiliary verbs(may, should, must), the verbs make and let, and the expressions had better and would rather.

There are two modal verbs where “to” is the second part of the verb, not part of the infinitive: ought to do; have to do


My doctor asked me _____(try) ______ (avoid) ______(eat) greasy food.

Looking forward to your comments!

See you!


Look forward to your reply!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Scroll to Top