Verb patterns

by John December 02, 2020

What are verb patterns?
Have you ever heard of them?
I guarantee you use them.

In English, it is important to know what verb patterns are in order to speak correctly.
Today we are going to take a look at them.

What are verb patterns?

When we use a verb in English with another verb, we call this a verb pattern.

verb + verb

Before we go into detail about this, we need to understand some basic grammar terms.

Gerund – a gerund is a noun we make by adding -ing on the end of the verb e.g Praying

Infinitive – the infinitive is the base form of a verb e.g to be, to go , to eat etc.

Sometimes we use the infinitive with to, other times we use it without to.


When we have a verb followed by another verb in a sentence, the second verb must be one of the following:

Gerund:                                I recollect meeting them.

Infinitive with to:               Sarah hopes to move to Dublin

Infinitive without to:         Matt will arrive tomorrow

Infinitive/Gerund:              I love dancing

                                             I love to dance

There is no rule to tell us which verbs take which pattern so you must learn which verbs are followed by a gerund and which are followed by infinitive as you go. Practice makes perfect!

Verb patterns

When we use: verb + verb in English, the second verb must be either

a gerund

infinitive + to

infinitive without to


When do we use the structure 'to be going to + infinitive?'

Some verbs that follow each pattern are below. Bear in mind that there are many many more verbs for each category but they must be learned one by one.

Consider     Admit     Deny     Miss

Infinitive + to
Promise     Ask    Help    Decide

Infinitive without to
Could    Should    Will    Let

Love    Like    Start    Stop

While we don’t have rules for which verbs take which form, we do have some exceptions.
We know that all modal verbs(except ought) are followed by the infinitive without to.

Test Yourself

Complete the sentences by choosing a verb and putting it in the correct form. Then check your answers to see if you were correct.

Example: I love…

Answer: I love going to the cinema. I love to go to the cinema.


  1. I am considering…
  2. I asked…
  3. Teachers should…
  4. I started…

Test Yourself

Choose the correct verb pattern


Verb patterns

1 / 8

We decided ___________ to the beach.

2 / 8

I am considering ________ a new course next year.

3 / 8

You should always ____________ care when you cross the road.

4 / 8

My girlfriend promised _________ me at 7pm.

5 / 8

I could _______ you up from your house.

6 / 8

My sister denied __________ the cookies that I made

7 / 8

My mother wouldn't let me __________ to nightclubs when I was young.

8 / 8

I love _________ the Christmas lights in Dublin.

Your score is


Guarantee: to promise with certainty


Practice makes perfect: this means the more we practice, the closer to perfect we will get.

Example: You should try speaking as much in English as possible. Practice makes perfect!

Bear in mind: think about or consider.

Example: When you are planning to go on holiday to a hot country, bear in mind that you will need light clothes.

If you liked this post, please head over to our grammar section for some more English grammar tips .

If you’d like information on our English courses in Dublin, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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