By Reinard Willem Zandvoort
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Additional info for A Handbook of English Grammar
244. The former does not exactly contain a general statement, but comparison with the latter will show that the character of the infinitive is more definite than that of the gerund. The gerund may have something of the durative character proper to the participle in ing. 1. A careful reader will come across many instances, however, where the distinction attempted here does not apply. Thus in The Squire's Story by Mrs. Gaskell3(Sel. Short Stories, Oxf. Univ. Press, I, p. 210) we find: `Mr. Higgins, however, preferred engaging two lads out of Barford ' — where one might have expected to engage.
In the same way one may say: I shall never forget seeing her stand on the balcony of the palace. To try takes a gerund when it means 'to make an experiment', 'to take up', an infinitive when it means 'to make an attempt'. 5 To make a living, he had tried writing, painting, and various other things, but had failed in all. Try to keep perfectly still for a moment. I See p. 26, n. 3. For a fuller list see Poutsma, Grammar', I, Ch. XIX, § 20. ' After to forbear not preceded by cannot or could not, an infinitive witb to is the rule: I forbear to enter into details.
90. In the case of certain verbs which in themselves express continuity or duration there seems to be little difference of meaning between the simple and the progressive forms. For instance, in newspaper accounts of weddings we find both The bride wore a dress of white silk and The bride was wearing a dress of white silk. The verbaladjectival character of the present participle makes the progressive more descriptive here than the purely verbal character of the simple 1Zajicek, op. , p. 106. GERUND AND PRESENT PARTICIPLE 39 form.
A Handbook of English Grammar by Reinard Willem Zandvoort