How do you distinguish between gerunds and infinitives?

<p>Is the only real sure way to memorize lists of words that must be followed by gerunds or infinitives? </p>

<p>Do you know any other, more universal way to decipher between whether you would need to use a gerund or infinitive?</p>

<p>For example:</p>

<p>In scenarios reminiscent of the old science fiction movie Fantastic Voyage, medical researchers HOPE EXPLORING the body with miniature robots sent into the bloodstream.</p>

<p>a. hope exploring
b. hope to explore</p>

<p>The answer is B. Why?</p>

<p>"hope exploring" would leave the sentence incomplete. "hope exploring" what? What will be the consequence of this. It begs the question of what exploration the body with miniature robots sent into the bloodstream" will do.</p>

<p>I see what you mean.. but it can also makes sense to say "medical researchers hope exploring" where "hope" would be the verb and exploring is the direct object.</p>

<p>Or, more simply, "exploring" is a noun, whereas "to explore" is a verb. If you don't have "to explore", the sentence has no verb and thus makes no sense.</p>

<p>EDIT: Nevermind, you still have the word "hope". Still, like the other poster said, if you use the phrase "hope exploring", the sentence needs to address what they "hope exploring" will do. "They hope exploring the human body with tiny robots"(will help find cures).</p>

<p>All this talk of infinitives and gerunds does nothing but confuse, I think. Read the sentences out loud in your head and pick the one that sounds right. That's what I did, and it works fine.</p>

<p>Picking the one that sounds rights usually works for me, but there are a lot of times where I am unsure or don't catch something. I just want a concrete way to know if I am choosing the right or wrong answer, you know?</p>

<p>grammatically speaking, the problem with "hope exploring" is that exploring is a noun. Hope is an intransitive verb (it can't take a direct object). But all that stuff after "hope exploring"--"the body with miniature robots sent into the bloodstream"--IS a direct object. You can't HOPE the body, but you can hope TO EXPLORE the body.</p>

<p>quomodo - GREAT explanations. Thanks!!</p>

<p>I think of it this way:
An infinitive means "to" something. You can only give one subject a verb per clause. For example, you could say "I want to eat some food." Only the verb "want" has a subject, so "eat" has to stay as an infinitive.</p>