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Archive Language Point 162

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Verb patterns: different meanings

In the bowling alley

Sometimes in a sentence, one verb follows another. For example, 'I remember telling her about the bowling'. The first verb is 'remember', the second verb is 'tell'.

In sentences like this, there are two main patterns. For example:

(a) I want to buy a diamond ring.
(b) I remember telling her about the bowling.

In sentence A, the first verb is followed by an infinitive.
In sentence B, the first verb is followed by a gerund (-ing) form.

The verb patterns are dependent upon the first verb. Sometimes, if a verb has two patterns, each pattern can have a different meaning or use. Here are some examples of verbs that change meaning with each pattern:


Remember + ___ing

1. I remember telling her about the bowling.
2. I remember hitting the car, but after that I don't know what happened.

In this case, 'remember' means that you have the memory of that action or event. You know it happened because you can now remember it.

Remember + to ___

3. I remembered to turn off the lights when I left the room.
4. Remember to bring your passport with you.

In this case, remember means that you do not forget to do something.


Try + ___ing

1. Try using a heavier bowling ball.
2. If you want to lose weight, try doing more exercise.

In this case, we use try when we suggest a way to achieve something. For example, there are many ways you can lose weight...

Try doing more exercise
Try changing your diet
Try eating less

All of these suggestions are good ways to achieve your goal; they are all ways to lose weight.

Try + to ___

3. I tried to open the window but it was impossible.
4. I am trying to hit the pins, but I keep missing them.

In this case, try means that we attempted to do something, but we failed to do it. We made an unsuccessful attempt to do something.


Forget + ___ing

1. I've forgotten telling you that it is my birthday today.
2. He's forgotten promising to send you the pictures.

In this case, forget means that you did the action, but now you cannot remember that you did it. So, in sentence 2, he promised to send you the pictures, but he still hasn't sent them to you. Why? Because he has forgotten about his promise.

Note: For this meaning, we often use a 'that clause', rather than the '___ing' form. For example:

I've forgotten that I told you that it is my birthday today.
He's forgotten that he promised to send you the pictures.

Forget + to ___

3. I forgot to telephone the bank before I went on holiday.
4. She's forgotten to bring her passport. We can't go on holiday now!

In this case, forget means you didn't do something.


Regret + ___ing

1. She regrets leaving her last boyfriend. She still loves him.
2. I regret changing my job. I don't like my new one.

In this case, regret means that you did something in the past, and now you feel sad that you did it.

Regret + to ___

3. We regret to tell you that your flight has been cancelled.
4. I regret to say that you have not passed your exam and that you must now leave the university.

In this case, regret means that, right now, you are sorry to give bad news to someone.


to follow through with your arm
To continue the arm movement after you have released the bowling ball

bowling alley
the place where you play ten-pin bowling

a strike
when you are playing ten-pin bowling and you knock over all ten pins in one go


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