I am looking at the difference in meaning with certain verb patterns, e.g. the change in time reference when you use either a gerund or infinitive after the verbs remember, forget, regret and stop.


I remember buying bread and

I remembered to buy bread   

In the first sentence, the action of "buy" happens before the action of "remember" whereas in the second sentence, the action of "remember" happens before the action of "buy". 

The same is true in these examples:

I regret saying v's I regret to say 

I forget writing v's  forget to write.

However, I have been presented with this example:   

She stopped to buy some food     versus       She wouldn't stop buying food

Am I right in saying that in the second sentence, we are talking about something different other than the way time references change depending on infinitive / gerund use? Is this an example of a past refusal instead or can it be explained in the same way as the other examples? 

Sorry, but I'm getting confused

Thank you for any help you can give.




Original Post

Hi Cailin

I remember buying bread. Yes you BOUGHT the bread and now you REMEMBER. For example, you are on the way to a far far away land and you feel hungry and start looking for something to eat. Then you remember that you bought some bread earlier. So you say " Ah, I remember buying some bread. Let me find out where I put it."

I remembered to buy some bread. Yes, you remembered and then you bought. For example, you were preparing for the trip to the far far away way trip above. And on the list is "buy some bread."  You looked at that and you bought some. After the shopping, your friend asked "Did you buy some bread?" and the answer is certainly "Yes, I remembered to do so."

I regret saying .... means that you SAID something and now you REGRET.

I regret to say....means you are going to say something bad that makes you feel regretful now.

I forget writing....means you did write but you now completely forget that you did so.

I forgot to write....means you didn't write because you forgot.

She stopped to buy some food means that she stopped (doing something) in order to buy some food.

She wouldn't stop buy food means she would continue buying food.

Hope this helps.



Welcome to the Grammar Exchange, and thank you for your question.  I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond to this thread.

I also want to thank Tony for his valuable input.

Cailin, when you have numerous examples that you want us to examine in contrast, please use index numbers or letters to make it easier for us to refer back to them.  For example:

a: I remember buying bread
b: I remembered to buy bread

Also, it helps if your pairs of examples are parallel constructs.  Hence, to be a good comparison with (b), it would help if the verb in (a) were in the same tense:

a': I remembered buying bread.

Here, it's so easy to add a prime symbol (which is essentially an apostrophe) to make it clear that I am making a slight variation on your original example (a) as opposed to creating a whole new example of my own.

Again, I wish to thank Tony.  He has given excellent answers to all of your questions.  The only difference between (a) and (a') is that in (a), the remembering of the past event of buying is happening now, but in (a'), the remembering happened in the past, and the buying happened even earlier.

Your "forget/forgot" examples follow a similar pattern, but your "regret" examples are perfect, in that both examples are in the simple present, but, as Tony shows us, the difference between using the gerund as opposed to the infinitive changes the meaning entirely.

This doesn't work with all verbs, though.  These two sentences essentially mean the exact same thing:

i: She hates changing her baby's diaper.
j: She hates to change her baby's diaper.

Cailin, what makes your last example especially confusing is the apparently unnecessary introduction of a negation in addition to changing the tense and mood of the verb.  Can't we keep it more simple?

g: She stopped buying food.
h: She stopped to buy food.

As Tony says, (h) (oh, man alive, it is so nice to have a simple index letter by which to refer to this sentence) means she ceased to do one action (probably driving or walking) in order to do another, which, in this case, is entering a store in order to buy food.

On the other hand, (g) means either that she is on a hunger strike, or has become a thief.


Add Reply

Likes (0)