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Gerunds and Infinitives: Conversation Practice Questions (100+ Discussion Questions)

Updated: May 19, 2023


This page is intended to be a resource for English learners and teachers. You can practice answering these gerund and infinitive discussion questions by yourself or with a partner. You can also write the answers in a notebook, in a digital document, or in the comments section below. To help learners feel more confident and to develop grammatical accuracy, the warm-up questions have some suggested answer beginnings, which make them ideal for beginner or intermediate learners. For more challenging questions, move on to the "Let's go!" section.


Recommended levels: Intermediate for "Warm-up" questions; mix of upper intermediate and advanced levels for majority of "Let's go!" questions.


In English, if you would like to follow a verb with another action or activity, you need to use a gerund (verb+ing) or a "to"-infinitive ("to"+infinitive verb).


Some verbs can only be followed by a gerund:

"I enjoy dancing."


Some verbs can only be followed by a "to"-infinitive:

"I wanted to buy it."


Some verbs can be followed by both without a significant change in meaning:

"I love to play badminton."

"I love playing badminton."


Some verbs can be followed by both with a change in meaning:

"I didn't remember to lock the door." (I didn't lock the door.)

"I didn't remember locking the door." (I didn't have a memory of locking the door. I wasn't sure if I locked it or not.)


Gerunds refer to an activity or topic. They are verbal nouns. "To"-infinitives refer to an act itself. For a list of verbs that are followed by gerunds and "to"-infinitives, go here.


This page is about gerund and infinitive discussion questions. Answer the questions below to help you practice and become more comfortable with these forms, and to practice your English speaking and conversation skills.



Warm-up

What do you want to do today?

Today, I want to...


What would you like to have for dinner tonight?

I would like to have...


What is something you need to do this week?

This week, I need to...


What do you enjoy doing on weekends?

I enjoy [gerund/gerund phrase] on weekends.


What's a book you would like to read or a movie you would like to see?

I'd like to read/see...


What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss...[gerund/gerund phrase].

What's something you can't afford to buy right now, but that you'd like to buy in the future? ("can't afford" means you don't have enough money to buy/do something)

Right now, I can't afford to buy...


What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I like...[gerund or infinitive. Both are possible.]


Do you plan to visit anyone in the near future?

Yes, I do. I plan to visit... / No, I don't plan to visit anyone in the near future.


What is something that you loved to do when you were younger?

When I was younger, I loved...[gerund or infinitive. Both are possible.]


Picture time

Alex is daydreaming. What's he daydreaming about? (To daydream means to have thoughts that distract you from the present. In other words, to "dream" during the day while you are awake.) Remember: preposition + gerund.


Hint: "He's daydreaming about playing..."

Do you ever daydream? What do you daydream about?



Let's go!

What's something that you've always wanted to have?


What's something that you would like to learn to do in the future?


What's something that you have always intended to do, but you have never found the time to do?


What is one thing you hope to achieve in the next 5 years?

Hint: "I hope to..."


Why did you decide to open this page?


What's a house chore that you avoid doing for as long as possible?


Have you ever quit doing something because it wasn't your thing? (If something "isn't your thing," it's not for you--you don't enjoy it.)


What was the last thing you discussed with someone? ("discuss" + gerund)

Example: "We discussed changing the date of the party."


If you could choose to live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to live?



Verbs that can followed by a gerund or an infinitive

There is a list of verbs that can be followed by a gerund or infinitive without a significant difference in meaning. However, even with these verbs, we typically use the gerund form to discuss a hobby or activity--or when we mention the period when we started doing that hobby or activity--and an infinitive to discuss the physical action. You can reference the verb list in the middle of this page to see the full list of verbs for this section. Follow the verbs in bold with a gerund or infinitive in your answer.


Have you ever started working on something but you didn't finish it for some reason? What happened?


What is something that you can't stand to see? (If you "can't stand" something, you don't have the resilience, fortitude, or physical or emotional ability to handle it. You detest it and have a strong negative reaction to it.)


What is something that you started doing a long time ago and that you have continued doing until now?


What's a food that you hated eating when you were a kid, but that you don't mind eating now?


What type(s) of music do you love to listen to these days?


Do you prefer drinking coffee or tea?


If you had the ability to build a new school in your area, where would you propose building it?


What are three hobbies or activities that you really like to do?



Verb + Noun/Pronoun + "to"-Infinitive Structure

Some verbs can be followed by an object (a noun or pronoun) and a "to"-infinitive. Note the common examples below. Bonus grammar note: The verb "say" is not one of these verbs. For instance, you can't say "She said me." In this case, you are probably trying to say "She told me," "She said ["that" clause]," "She said to me ["that" clause]," or maybe "She said that to me."


Has anyone ever persuaded you to buy something?


Have you ever persuaded anyone to buy something?


Did your parent(s) or caregivers ever force you to do chores when you were a kid?


What did your teachers get you to do when you were in school? ("get someone to do something" means to instruct, direct, or convince someone to do something.)


Who taught you to read?


Has an app or website ever crashed when you needed it to work?


Complete the Sentences:

  • My boss told me to...

  • His mom asked him to...

  • He asked her to...

  • Did she tell you to...?

  • I want you to...

  • The government expects people to...

  • I need you to...


Gerunds and Prepositions

Prepositions (for, at, with, in, to, by, etc.) are followed by gerunds, not infinitives. Answer these questions by using a gerund after the prepositional phrase. Of course, other grammatical options are possible, but for the purpose of practice, try to use a gerund.


What is something you've been thinking about lately?

Lately, I've been thinking about...[+gerund]


What is something you don't like dealing with? ("deal with" means "handle" or "manage")


What's something that you're proud of having finished?


What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?

I dreamt/dreamed of becoming...


Do you get anxious about speaking in public?


What's a subject that you'd like to learn more about?


What's an activity that you'd like to try out? ("try out" means "try" or "sample")


What is something you complained about when you were a kid?


Have you ever thought about starting a new life in a brand new place?


Have you ever been accused of doing something that you didn't do?


What's something that you'd like to be better at?


Think of someone famous. What are they best known for?

Example: "Keanu Reeves is best known for making action movies."


Are there any songs that you're tired of hearing these days?



Adjectives and "to"-Infinitives

It is common to follow adjectives with a "to"-infinitive phrase. For example, "It's good to see you." Answer the questions below to practice this construction.


What's something that is common to see in your city/town/village/province/country?

Hint: "It's common to see..."


What is something that you were relieved to hear?

Hint: "I was relieved to hear (about/that/the news about)..."


What is something that you feel lucky to have done or experienced?

Hint: "I feel lucky to have [past participle verb]."


What's a movie that looks too scary to watch for you?


Do you feel too tired to do something right now?


Is it warm enough to wear a T-shirt outside today?


What's something that's difficult to do for you?

Possible structures: "X is difficult to do for me." / "X is difficult for me to do." / "It's difficult for me to..."



Nouns + "to"-Infinitives

Depending on the context, you can follow nouns with "to"-infinitives.


What's a sport that requires a lot of energy to do?


When's the best time to call you?


What's the best place to get a cheap lunch in your neighbourhood?


Was it your choice to do this activity, or did someone ask you to do it?



Infinitives of Purpose

You can replace the phrase "in order to" with "to" in many situations. For example, if you call a restaurant to reserve a table for the evening, you can say "I'm calling to make a reservation." You can replace "to make a reservation" with "in order to make a reservation" or "for the purpose of making a reservation" in your mind. Basically, in many cases, if you can ask the question "Why?" or "For what purpose?" after a clause (such as "I'm calling"), you can follow it with a "to"-infinitive to mean "in order to." Some grammar books call these infinitives of purpose.


Why are you doing this activity?

Hint: "I'm doing this activity to..."


Why are you studying English?

Hint: "I'm studying English to..."


Why do people join gyms?

"People join gyms to..."


Why do people read books?

"People read books to..."


Why do people buy smartphones?

"People buy smartphones to..."


What do you need to do in order to find a job? (or "...to find a job?")

"In order to find a job, you need to..." / "To find a job, you need to..."


What websites do you use to practice English?

"I use [name(s) of site(s)] to practice English." / "To practice English, I use..."


Who do you usually call to ask for advice?

"I usually call [person] to ask for advice."



When Gerunds and Infinitives Change the Meaning of a Sentence

There is a short list of verbs whose meanings change if they are followed by a gerund or a "to"-infinitive. Check the bottom of this list for these verbs.


Do you regret anything you did in the past? (Use "regret" + gerund to say you feel bad about something in the past.)


What's something that you don't regret doing in the past? (Something you don't feel bad about doing in the past.)

Example: "I don't regret going to college." / "I don't regret having gone to college." ("having gone" makes it clearer that this happened in the past, but it's not necessary when the context is clear.)


What is something that you stopped doing in the past?

Example: "I stopped taking karate classes when I was 12 years old."


Do you ever forget to wash your face?


Do you always remember to make your bed in the morning? (If you "make your bed," you make it tidy after you wake up.)


What is something that you remember from your childhood? ("remember" + gerund = past memory)

Example: "I remember visiting my grandparents every weekend."


What is something you will never forget? ("forget" + gerund = past memory)

Example: "I will never forget taking piano lessons with Mister Diaby."


Do you know anyone who always goes on talking and doesn't know when to stop?


Imagine that your friend wants to learn English. What methods should they try? ("try" + gerund = options/methods)


What do you think would happen if you tried to jump out of a moving train?


Complete the sentences:

  • I regret to inform you that...

  • We had to stop at the gas station to...

  • He's really proud of his sister. After she graduated, she went on to...

  • You should quit [+gerund].

  • He quit his job [+infinitive]. (This usage is an infinitive of purpose, as seen above. Remember: "He quit in order to...")


Passive Practice

The questions below use passive constructions. Answer them with the same constructions in order to practice the various forms.


What is something you were always reminded to do by your parents or teachers?

"I was always reminded to..."


Have you been told to do anything recently?

"Recently, I have('nt) been told to..."


Were you asked to do this activity by someone, or did you choose to do it?


What is something you don't like being told to do? (or "...to be told to do.")


Do you think kids should be forced to go to school?


Have you ever been chosen to be the leader of a team or project?


What is something that you have been praised for? (Remember: preposition + gerund)


The finish line

To finish, complete the sentences below.

  • I grew up wanting to be... (This means "When I was a child, I wanted to be" or "I dreamed of being...")

  • I still need to...

  • Now that I'm done answering these questions, I feel like...(+gerund. "Feel like" means "I want to" or "I am inclined to" in this context.)


That's it! Thank you for learning and practicing your English with me. To continue improving your English, and to support my work, consider purchasing a PDF, e-Book, or paperback version of one of my books. All of them are written with English learners in mind. Thank you.


Until next time, I wish you success, and I hope to see you again soon!


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