It is really only a matter of learning which verbs take the to infinitive and which take a V-ittg form.
• For example, the verbs hope, expect, and learn normally take the to infinitive.
I learnt to swim in the Black Sea last summer.
I expect to get high marks in English this term.
I hope to hand in my project paper on time.
• After some verbs (e.g. tell, advise, ask , to infinitive follows the object.
We asked a stranger to show us the way.
He advised me to drive more slowly through the town.
The new teacher told us to be quiet.
• Other verbs, such as enjoy, finish, admit, mind, feel like, can’t help, look forward to, and prevent take the V-ing form.
I can’t help feeling that it’s going to rain before we get back.
I feel like stopping work now and coming back to it later.
Do you mind not talking in here? Speaking is not allowed in the library.
Sometimes the meaning changes w'hen you use one form or the other:
verb meaning when followed by the to infinitive meaning when followed by V-ing form
mean / mean to finish this job no matter what happens. = to be determined to do it, to intend
A new theory of human development will mean changing people’s attitudes to the environment. = to signify, to result in regret We regret to inform you that your flight has been cancelled. = to feel regret for an action first and then to do the action I regret spending so much money, because now I can’t pay all my bills. = to do an action first and later to regret it
remember Remember to call me next week. =
to remember an action first and then to do the
action I remember playing with you when we were both small children. = to do an action first and later to remember it
stop I stopped to tie my shoelaces. = to stop in order to do another action I stopped eating meat years ago. = to quit
try He tried to find a job. = fo attempt to do something He tried asking his friends to help him. = to experiment, to do an action in order to test what happens