Lesson Plan: Gerunds and Infinitives

Reading: Ss will be able to differentiate between the gerund and inifitive verb in a written context. Ss can recognize verbs that only take the gerund or infinitive.

Speaking: Ss will be able to accurately associate verbs with infinitives or gerund in a controlled context

Ss will complete sentences using a gerund or infinitive, students will be able to respond to questions using verbs that take infinitives or gerunds.

Writing: Ss can complete sentences using a gerund or inifinitve.

Intermediate Students. Class should take an hour to an hour and thirty minutes.

Write ‘success’ on the board. Students discuss what success means to them. Write up some names (eg. J.K.Rowling, Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney, Winston Churchill for inspiration.) Ask students to tell you what you need to do to be successful.

Read the article below before class and decide which vocabulary you will need to pre-teach students.

Students read the article and agree with a partner which are the most important 5 (there are 10 points!)

Imagine yourself being successful. Einstein said that the imagination is more important than knowledge. The more vividly and accurately you imagine your success, the easier it will be for you to follow through. You can be the engineer of your success by dedicating a few minutes every day for the mental movies of your success.

Surround yourself with other people who are successful. When you’re surrounded with people who are highly-driven, it’s encouraging. Start with the basics: Willpower, effort, goals, and determination. Whatever you want to accomplish requires all of these.

Define the meaning of success as you see it. You cannot have success if you do not know what it means for you. Everyone views success differently. Create benchmarks: “My goal is to increase my productivity by 30% and only be late for work five times per year, at the most.” These are quantifiable goals that when achieved, give you a sense of satisfaction and completion, making you feel successful.

Finding the purpose or goal of your life. Identify the things you love to do, the things that give you satisfaction. Once you identify what you love to do, use this information to find the purpose of your life or the objective of your life. It is equally important to target what you love. Imagine yourself participating in a marathon race despite the fact that your true passion is swimming. What will happen? You might have success in something you dislike, but you wont be satisfied.

Identify the things/skills/material needed to achieve your objectives. For example, if you want to be a famous speaker, you need a broad vocabulary, subject knowledge, speech writing, voice clarity, presentation skills. This is identifying short-term objectives to achieve long term goals.

Execute your small objectives, focus on your main objective. Yes you need to execute what you thought and you need to start executing your dreams right now (Start with the first step immediately).

Take risks.Step out of your comfort zone. Successful people think big and act big. It can be a scary thing to do, but if you don’t, then will you ever be successful? Don’t wait for opportunities to fall in your lap… But don’t be reckless. Study your risks, make sure the odds are in your favor, then take a leap.

Be Persistent. Don’t give up. If your first attempt didn’t work, don’t quit trying. When asked about his 10,000 failed attempts to develop a storage battery, the prolific American inventor Thomas Edison responded: “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Accept life is unfair, some people are born with disabilities and you need to accept this fact but remember this also gives you unfair advantage. You can stop wasting time about the unfairness and think how to use the situation for your benefit. Remember Newton could have complained about the Apple falling down the tree could hit his head…but instead he identified the Law of Gravitation and known as The Father of Physics.

Accept Failure, Understand behind every Success there is a Failure…to understand this, just think why we invented Aircrafts, because we failed to fly ourselves. Why we need to get credit from the bank, because we failed to buy the things we loved. Maybe you failed to marry the person you loved but succeed in marrying a person who loved you. Maybe you failed to receive a promotion because you succeeded in getting a new great job, leaving the comfort zone of previous job.

Elicit the grammar, which is: gerunds and infinitives.

Define a gerund sentence – a sentence where a verb is followed directly by a verb ending in ‘ing’,

eg I am learning to salsa dance.

Define an infinitive sentence – a sentence where one verb is followed by an infinitive,

eg. ‘I learned to dance when I was 6.’

In the article, have the students find gerund and infinitive sentences.

Elicit the grammar rule: there isn’t one! The students will groan…. Although verbs that are about feelings and desires generally take the infinitive ‘I hope to succeed one day.’

You have to memorise which verbs take the infinitive, which take the gerund, and which can do both.

Students probably don’t realise that they already know this rule. Give them some incorrect sentences with gerunds and infinitives and get them to correct them. They will probably comment that the incorrect sentence just ‘sounds wrong.’

Make a board game from this list, or simply give them this list to answer:

Start here- What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

What will you never stop doing?

What do you sometimes put off doing?

What is something you promised your mother to do?

What would you like to learn to do?

Have you ever forgotten to do something important?

What is something special you really want to do before you die?

What are thinking about doing next summer?

Why do you believe or not believe in ghosts?

What are you nervous about doing in your future?

What chores were you responsible for doing when you were a child?

What are you doing in the future that you are excited about?

Do you ever feel too shy to do something?

What do you think you are too young to do?

What do you think you are too old to do?

Do you have enough time to do what you need to do in your life?

Are you considering any job or career changes? Explain.

What are you good at doing?

What topics are you interested in reading about?

What do you hate doing?

What is something you can’t wait to do?

When and where is the last place you went sightseeing?

What do you need to do to succeed in school?

The students answer the questions by discussing them in pairs. Then discuss as a class.

Write three columns on the board headed: ‘gerunds’ ‘infinitives’ ‘both.’

Using their answers from the questions, write up which verbs only take a gerund, which only take an infinitive, and which take both. Emphasise that they are not robots, and cannot learn this in a ‘list format’, but if they know this ‘rule’ exists, then they can learn which verbs take what as they study.

To finish, put students into groups to write down their own ideas in a group about how to be successful.

As a review in the next class, groups give presentations using gerund and infinitive sentences on the topic ‘how to be successful.’

Here is a nice big list of examples!

agree Tom agreed to help me.
appear His health appeared to be better.
arrange Naomi arranged to stay with her cousin in Miami.
ask She asked to leave.
begin He began to talk.
can’t stand Nancy can’t stand to work the late shift.
care He doesn’t care to participate in the activity.
choose I chose to help.
continue She continued to talk.
decide We decided to go to Hawaii.
fail He failed to get enough money to pay for the new project.
forget I forgot to lock the door when I left.
hate He hates to clean dishes.
hope I hope to begin college this year.
learn I learned to speak Japanese when I was a kid.
like Samantha likes to read.
love We love to scuba dive.
manage He managed to open the door without the key.
need I need to study.
prefer He prefers to eat at 7 PM.
prepare They prepared to take the test.
pretend The child pretended to be a monster.
promise She promised to stop smoking.
remember Did you remember to lock the door when you left?
try Mary tried to lift the table, but it was too heavy.
wait She waited to buy a movie ticket.
want I want to study Spanish.
wish I wish to stay.
would like
(meaning “wish” or “want”)
We would like to start now.
admit He admitted cheating on the test.
avoid He avoided talking to her.
begin I began learning Chinese.
can’t stand He can’t stand her smoking in the office.
consider She considered moving to New York.
continue He continued talking.
deny He denied committing the crime.
discuss We discussed working at the company.
dislike She dislikes working after 5 PM.
don’t mind I don’t mind helping you.
enjoy We enjoy hiking.
finish He finished doing his homework.
forget I forgot giving you my book.
hate I hate cleaning the bathroom.
imagine He imagines working there one day.
like She likes listening to music.
love I love swimming.
miss She misses living near the beach.
need The aquarium needs cleaning.
neglect Sometimes she neglects doing her homework.
permit California does not permit smoking in restaurants.
postpone He postponed returning to Paris.
practice She practiced singing the song.
prefer He prefers sitting at the back of the movie theater.
propose I proposed having lunch at the beach.
quit She quit worrying about the problem.
remember I remember telling her the address yesterday.
start He started studying harder.
stop She stopped working at 5 o’clock.
suggest They suggested staying at the hotel.
try Sam tried opening the lock with a paperclip.


Split class into four, each group has a situation card. They need to write as many examples of infinitives and gerunds sentences as possible.

– Plan a marketing event for a new energy drink.

Verb suggestions: advise, stop, consider, recommend, enjoy, ask, plan, prepare, remember, want, (don’t) forget.

–   A colleague wants to go for a promotion, but they are nervous about the obligatory interview. Give advice

Verb suggestions: advise, avoid, finish, (don’t) delay, mention, practice, remember, dislike, (don’t) quit, decide, need, want, wait

–  Complain about the rising cost of living such as healthcare, car insurance, etc. Try to end on a positive note.

Verb suggestions: admit, deny, anticipate, dislike, can’t help, regret, pretend, understand, want, learn, wish.

–  Give advice on either losing weight, or gaining confidence to make a good impression on clients.

Verb suggestions: advise, avoid, keep, suggest, expect, hope, seem, need, learn, offer, want, plan

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