Activity for Learning Gerunds and Infinitives

In my last entry, I offered four tips for learning how to use gerunds and infinitives as direct objects. Here is an activity to help students apply those tips:

  • Step 1: Use a grammar reference chart such as the one in Focus on Grammar (High Intermediate, Chart No. 3, A-2). Select either a column or row of verbs. To illustrate, I’ll choose the top row from this chart: acknowledge, consider, endure, give up, miss, quit, and resist.
  • Step 2: Identify the grammatical structure the verbs require (followed by gerunds? followed by infinitives? etc.)  The seven selected items above are verbs followed by the gerund.
  • Step 3: Ask students to create a short text in a small group. Their goal is to include all seven verbs followed by gerunds. Set a time limit. Groups can share their texts with the whole class.


Jack and Jill take Spanish classes together, but Jill recently quit going. Jill told Jack that she wanted to give up learning Spanish. She said classes were too hard, and she missed watching her favorite TV programs at night. Jack acknowledged having difficulty in class as well, but he told Jill to resist taking the easier path.  He won’t consider quitting for anything. He’s ready to endure losing TV time, Internet time, and time with friends to reach his goal of learning Spanish.

Some groups may not be able to incorporate all seven verbs in their texts. Accept what they are capable of, and consider working as a class to expand a given text so as to include any remaining verbs.

  • Step 4: Ask the same groups to develop questions using phrases from their texts. They should use at least half of the verbs from the original list. Explain that they will be asking their classmates these questions. What would they like to know about their classmates?


1.      When you study English at home, do you miss doing other things like watching TV?

2.       Have you ever considered quitting your English studies?

3.       Are you someone who resists taking the easier path in life?

Students should then pair up with a classmate from another group and take turns asking questions.

  • Step 5: As independent study, students can write answers to their own questions from Step 4.

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