§ 241.As objective predicatives the infinitive and the ing-form
are lexically dependent (for the lists see "Verbs", §§ 193 and 222).
Both verbals are found after the following verbs: to fancy, to feel,
to find, to get, to hate, to have, to hear, to imagine, to (dis)like, to
listen to, to notice, to see, to understand, to want and to watch.
After the verbs denoting physical perception, such as to feel, to
hear, to listen to, to notice, to see and to watch, the choice between the
infinitive and the ing-form is determined by their lexical character
With terminative verbs, the infinitive expresses an accomplished ac-
tion (a) and the ing-form an unaccomplished action in its progress (b)-
e.g. a) Nobody had noticed him come in. Nobody had seen him go
b) He heard footsteps comingfrom the direction of the library.
a) Bridget heard Luke drive up.She came out on the steps to
b) As I looked out at the garden I heard a motor-truck start-
ingon the road.
a) One night in late November I heard him makea remark
about his coming marriage.
b) I heard him saying the other day he could do with a few
more pounds a week.
With durative verbs, the difference in meaning between the
two verbals disappears and the choice of the form is free.
e.g. a) I thought also that it would do him no harm to hear us
talkabout his progress,
b) I've never heard you talkinglike this about him.
a) I was watching the doctor work.
b) Inoticed him workingin the garden.
a) They listened to him talkabout the picture.
b) I listened to them discussingit.
On the whole it should be pointed out that the ing-form is
more common in this case. The infinitive, for example, would not
be used in the following sentences:
e.g. I held her close against me and could feel her heart beating.
We saw the troops marchingalong the road.
I looked in the door of the big room and saw the major sit-
tingat his desk.
With the verbs to fancy, to find, to imagine and to under-
stand, the difference lies in the lexical character of the objective
predicative. With the verb to be, the objective predicative is al-
ways an infinitive (a); with all other verbs, it is an ing-form (b).
e.g. a) They found him to bea bore.
b) When he arrived he found me reading Tom Jones.
a) I imagined him to bea bigger man.
b) I imagined her sittingby the fire-place, alone and in tears.
After the verbs to get, to hate, to have, to like and to want the
choice between the infinitive and the ing-form is free. Yet, the in-
finitive is much more common with to get and to want, whereas
the ing-form is more common with to (dis)like and to hate.
e.g. a) He wanted us to go with him, but Jimmy refused.
b) I didn't want any outsiders coming to the rehearsal.
a) I couldn't get him to leave.
b) She got all her guests going the moment she felt sleepy.
a) I like my oatmeal to have a salty taste.
b) I don't like anybody getting ideas where my wife is concerned.
The Infinitive and the ing-form as Attribute
§ 242. As attributes the infinitive and the ing-form overlap
only when they have appositive meaning. They are both placed in
post-position to their head-noun and are lexically dependent. (For
the lists of nouns see "Verbs", §§ 204, 2 and 230.) Besides, the ing-
form is always preceded by a preposition, usually of.
We may find either an infinitive or an ing-form after the fol-
lowing nouns: action, attempt, capacity, chance, excuse, intention,
motion, necessity, opportunity, possibility, power, precaution, right,
sign and way. On the whole the choice between the two verbals af-
ter these nouns is free.
e.g. a) I haven't had a chance to see my dog this morning.
b) The Careys had had a chance of welcoming their nephew.
a) He was trying to find a way to earn fifty pounds.
b) They were trying to find a way of talking directly to their
a) I had no opportunity to speak to her.
b) I had no opportunity of doing so.
a) She only laughed and made no attempt to withdraw.
b) I made another attempt at going.
It should be mentioned that some of the nouns quoted above, for
example, such an attempt, necessity, right, tend to be associated will
an infinitive, whereas other nouns, for example, such as chance, in
tention, possibility, way, tend to be followed by an ing-form. The
noun opportunity appears to be equally common with both forms.
The Infinitive and the ing-form as Attribute
in a Sentence Pattern with it as a Formal Subject
§ 243. In this function the infinitive and the ing-form are lexi-
cally dependent. (For the lists of the nouns see §§ 206, 231.) The
infinitive is the norm, the ing-form being a rare exception.
e.g. It was a pleasure to see him among us again.
It is a hard job to clean the kitchen.
It is no use deceiving ourselves.
§ 244. The use of the infinitive and the ing-form in all the oth-
er functions is not parallel and so they need not be compared.
The Use of the Participle
§ 245. The functions of the participle in the sentence are more
restricted as compared with those of the infinitive and the ing-
iorm. Besides, it tends to become adjectivized even in the func-
tions that it can perform in the sentence. (For the adjectivization
of the participle see "Verbs", § 179.)
The participle cannot be used either as the subject or as the
predicate of the sentence. When it is used as predicative, it is al-
ways adjectivized and may be preceded, like a real adjective, by ad-
verbs of degree, such as extremely, greatly, so, too, very and the
correlative conjunctions as ... as and not so ... as.
e.g. Three of the girls were given to giggling.
Roger was set on getting the job himself.
Strickland was distinguished from most Englishmen by his
perfect indifference to comfort.
We lived in the same neighbourhood and we felt friendly dis-
posed to one another.
"I was cold but too excited to mind it.
I've never been so deceived in a man as I was in George.
If anyone lived there he would be as scared as we were.
I am naturally very disappointed.
It should be mentioned that if participles were not adjectiv-
ized in this case, they would form, with the verb to be, the Pas-
Note. Some adjectivized participles, however, can be modified, like verbs, by
(very) much. This may be accounted for by their verbal origin.
e.g. If Tony expected her to rush into his arms he was very much mistaken.
In a day or two the answer came back that he was very much opposed to the
It follows from what has been said that the participle proper (i.e.
the participle which is not adjectivized) cannot be used as predicative.