Unit 55 verb + ~ing or to… (1) (remember/regret etc.) — grammar in use
When one verb follows another verb, the structure is usually verb + ~ing or verb + to … Compare:
verb + ~ing
* They denied stealing the money.
* I enjoy going out.
Often we use ~ing for an action that happens before the first verb or at the same time:
stealing to steal want -> to go
This difference is often helpful (see Section B) but does not explain all uses of ~ing and to…
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.
You remember doing something after you have done it:
* I'm absolutely sure I locked the door. I clearly remember locking it. (= I locked it, and now I remember this)
* He could remember driving along the road just before the accident happened, but he couldn't remember the accident itself.
I remembered to do something = I remembered that I had to do it, and so I did it.
You remember to do something before you do it:
* 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)
* 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 now regret saying what I said. I shouldn't have said it.
I regret to say/to tell you/to inform you = I'm sorry that I have to say (etc.):
* (from a formal letter) We regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you the job.
Go on doing something = continue doing the same thing:
* The minister went on talking for two hours.
* We must change our ways. We can't go on living like this.
Go on to do something = do or say something new:
* After discussing the economy, the minister then went on to talk about foreign policy.
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')