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IELTS common mistakes | verb use: when do I use -ing or to + infinitive?

I just managed to avoid hitting the car in front of me. (correct)
I just managed to avoid to hit the car in front of me. (incorrect)

I want telling you a little about myself. (incorrect)
I want to tell you a little about myself. (correct)

We use to + infinitive after the following verbs: ask, afford, decide, deserve, help, hope, learn, offer, prepare, promise, refuse, seem, want, would like:
Summer seems to arrive later and later these days.
Nowadays most people would like to have more money.
Learn how is also followed by to + infinitive:
I want to learn how to drive before I go to university.

After some verbs, we use -ing: avoid, carry on, consider, deny, enjoy, finish, give up, imagine, involve, keep, like, mind, practise, recommend, resist, suggest:
I really enjoy watching movies at the cinema. (not enjoy to watch)

Look forward to is also followed by -ing:
I look forward to hearing your reply. (not look forward to hear your reply)

We also use -ing after spend money and spend time:
We spent a lot of money buying CDs last month. We spent $200 buying CDs last month.
She spent a lot of time looking for information on the internet. She spent over three hours looking for information on the internet.

Note that like can be followed by - ing or to + infinitive.

See more IELTS common mistakes

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