Unit 55. Infinitive or -ing? (2) – begin, start, continue, remember, try


begin start continue

These verbs can usually be followed by -ing or the infinitive. So you can say:

  • The baby began crying, or The baby began to cry.

  • It has started raining, or It has started to rain.

  • He continued working after his illness, or He continued to work after his illness.

    Remember to do and remember doing

    You remember to do something before you do it. Remember to do something is the opposite of “forget to do something”:

  • I remembered to lock the door before I left, but I forgot to shut the windows. (= I remembered to lock the door, and then I locked it)

  • Please remember to mail the letter. (= don’t forget to mail it)

    You remember doing something after you do it. I remember doing something = I did something, and now I remember it:

  • I clearly remember locking the door before I left. (= I locked it, and now I clearly remember this)

  • He could remember driving along the road just before the accident happened, but he couldn’t remember the accident itself.

    Try to do and try doing

    Try to do = attempt to do, make an effort to do:

  • I was very tired. I tried to keep my eyes open, but I couldn’t.

  • Please try to be quiet when you come home. Everyone will be asleep.

    Try doing

    Try also means “do something as an experiment or test”:

  • Try some of this tea – maybe you’ll like it. (= drink some of it to see if you like it)

  • We tried every hotel in town, but they were all full. (= we went to every hotel to see if they had a room)

    If try (with this meaning) is followed by a verb, we say try -ing:

  • “I can’t find anywhere to live.” “Why don’t you try putting an ad in the newspaper?” (= do this to see if it helps you to find a place to live)

  • I’ve got a terrible headache. I tried taking an aspirin, but it didn’t help. (= I took an aspirin to see if it would stop my headache)

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