Home Learn English Teach English MyEnglishClub Home Learn English Teach English MyEnglishClub

Please note that these ESL Forums are NOT part of MyEnglishClub. To post at these ESL Forums please register ↑ first.

adjective + gerund

English grammar help. Grammar questions from ESL learners

Moderator: Alan

adjective + gerund

Postby SARDORBEK » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:46 pm

We're lucky it's sunny today. It would be horrible sitting out here otherwise.

I have learnt in the grammar books that after adjectives we should use the to-infinitive.
Why is the gerund used in the sentence above? Or is it informal usage?

Gold Member
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:34 pm
Status: English Learner

Re: adjective + gerund

Postby Alan » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:39 am

Firstly, there is no rule of grammar stating that adjectives should only ever be followed by infinitives. For instance, we say 'be busy doing smth.', not 'to do...'.

However, in cases of a postposed verbal subject, to which you are apparently referring, standard practice is to use an infinitive to refer to a hypothetical event, and a gerund to refer to an actual/habitual event.

Thus, e.g.

It would be wonderful to win a million pounds in the lottery.

(because the event in question is simply imaginary)


It was wonderful seeing you again yesterday.

(because I actually did see you.)

That said, however, these are tendencies, not firm rules, and level of formality also exerts some influence over choice of form, with the infinitive being generally more formal, and the gerund generally less so.
User avatar
EC Teacher
EC Teacher
Posts: 12043
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 7:56 pm
Location: Japan
Status: English Teacher

Return to Grammar Help

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alan and 9 guests