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Verb patterns

Tim, Alice and Kitty in the kitchen

Sometimes in a sentence, one verb follows another. For example, I want to buy an electric car. The first verb is 'want', the second verb is 'buy'.

In sentences like this, there are different possible patterns. For example:

(a) I want to buy an electric car.

(b) I hate driving.

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. There are several different types of pattern. When you learn a new verb, you need to learn the verb pattern. Unfortunately, some verbs have more than one possible pattern! Sometimes, if a verb has two patterns, each pattern can have a different meaning or use.

Here are examples of some of the patterns:

Verb + to + verb:

These verbs all use this pattern: want, hope, decide, agree.

I want to work with Dr. Laver.

Tim hopes to leave the stockroom soon.

Helen decided to go out with Michal.

Alice might agree to change wards.

Verb + verb + ing:

These verbs all use this pattern: enjoy, mind, consider.

I enjoy working on the emergency ward.

Alice doesn't mind working with children.

Tim is considering changing his job.

Verb + preposition + verb +ing

These verbs all use this pattern: specialise, think.

He specialises in helping children.

Michal is thinking about cooking dinner.

Verb + object + verb:

These verbs all use this pattern: let, make.

Dad let me keep the cat.

She made me say sorry.

Verbs with two patterns and different meanings:

These verbs have two possible patterns, and there is a difference in meaning between the patterns: like, hate, regret.

I like to swim every day = I think it is a good idea to do this

I like swimming every day = I enjoy the activity. It gives me pleasure

I hate to tell you this = I am sorry to tell you this

I hate flying = I do not like this activity

I regret to tell you this - I am sorry to tell you this

I regret leaving London - I left London in the past, and I am sorry that I did that


maternity (adj):
about pregnancy and childbirth

specialise (v):
to study or work in depth in a particular area or subject

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