If you’re looking for some of the best gerunds and infinitives ESL games and activities, then you’re in the right place. We have gerund activities, ESL infinitive games, along with worksheets, lesson plans, practice exercises online and a whole lot more. Keep on reading for everything you need to teach infinitives and gerunds in style!
What is a Gerund and an Infinitive?
Both gerunds and infinitives can replace nouns in a sentence.
Gerund = present participle (ing) verb form. For example, running, laughing, eating.
“I like eating pizza.”
“Bunjee jumping is dangerous, but I love it.”
Infinitive = to + base verb form. For example, to eat, to play, to laugh.
“It’s not easy to study so late into the night.”
“I came to Canada to learn English.”
ESL Gerunds and Infinitives Games and Activities
Let’s get to the best gerund and infinitives activities and games.
#1: Dialogue Substitution
Maybe your students are kind of like mine. Whenever I get them to read a dialogue from the textbook with a partner, they just blow through it without paying attention to what they’re reading.
A nice way to turn this from a simple reading exercise into one that’s also focused on meaning is to remove the key words. In this case, remove some of the words related to gerunds and infinitives. In particular, I like to challenge the students to use the correct verb form. For example,
- I recently stopped _____ cigarettes (smoking).
- He tried to _____ the door but it was stuck (open/close).
Find out more about it here:
#2: Find Someone Who
A nice way for students to get some practice using gerunds or infinitives is to do this “find someone who” game. Students fill up their board with things they think people like doing. For example:
- eat pizza
- play soccer
- watch TV
- sleep in on weekends
For lower-level students, it can be helpful to have a list already prepared beforehand. Higher-level students can fill in the board as they wish.
Then, students have to circulate around the class using grammatically correct questions. For example:
- Do you like to eat pizza?
- Do you like playing soccer?
If a student answers “yes” to the question, the student can mark that square off on the Bingo sheet and then move on to another student. Alternatively, you can require that the original student asks a follow-up question like:
- How often do you eat pizza?
- Why do you like to play soccer?
Want to know more? Check this out: Find Someone Who ESL Bingo.
#3: Error Correction Relay
#4: Conversation Starters
Maybe you’ve had this experience before? You tell students to ask each other questions using gerunds and are met with total silence! It happened to me a lot when I was a newbie TEFL teacher. Of course, it’s not the students’ fault. I didn’t give them enough information.
A better way is to give students some conversation starters for whatever target grammar or vocabulary you’d like them to practice. Find out more about that here:
#5: Basketball Challenge
This is a fun TEFL game that kids love! It’s ideal for beginners and the main requirement is that you need a good amount of space to play it.
Place flashcards with activities or objects at various intervals around the room. Then, when students get to that card, you can require them to ask a question to one of their teammates using a gerund or infinitive. For example:
- (soccer flashcard): Do you like to play soccer? / Do you like playing soccer?
- (pizza): Do you like to eat pizza? / Do you like eating pizza?
The teammate must also answer correctly. Find out more about this game here:
#6: Picture Prompt Warmer
A nice way to introduce a unit on gerunds and infinitives is to show a picture with lots of activity. Then, elicit from the students what is happening. They may shout out: soccer, jogging, trash. You can reframe it into a sentence with a gerund or infinitive:
- They must enjoy playing soccer.
- It looks like jogging is a hobby of his.
- The man is helping clean up trash in the park.
Find out more about this nice warmer activity here:
#7: Typhoon Game with Infinitives and Gerunds
This is a nice way to review just about anything, including infinitives or gerunds. I like to include a mix of questions and answers and students have to come up with the opposite.
- I like to play soccer (Do you like playing soccer?)
- Do you enjoy watching TV? (Yes, I like watching TV).
Find out more here:
#8: Gerund and Infinitive Board Games
In real life, I love to play board games. This is why I also like to use them in my English classes. They’re fun, engaging and interactive and are perfect for getting students some practice with these grammatical structures.
Fill up the board with questions like:
- What do you usually avoid doing until the last second?
- What are you thinking about doing next year?
- Is there anything you’re quit recently?
- What is something you started to do but never finished?
- What is something you plan to do this weekend?
Then, students have to play in small groups. The good news is that it’s super easy to make your own board game for any grammatical point or vocabulary set. Find out all the details here:
#9: Vocabulary Auction with Gerunds and Infinitives
If you want to have a great class, then consider using the vocabulary auction! It’s engaging, interactive and student-centred. I’m sure your students will love it as much as mine do.
Make up a bunch of sentences that use an infinitive or gerund. Then, cut out each word. Students have to bid on words that they think will help them make sentences. After that, there’s a trading round. Finally, each group can put together their sentences. The group with the most grammatically correct sentences is the winner.
Want to give it a try? Find out all the details here:
#10: Running Dictation
This is one of my favourite ESL activities because it hits all four skills, is engaging and can also be used for almost any grammar point! It’s ideal for a lead-in activity and also works well for review.
In this case, I’d find or write a conversation that contains numerous gerund and infinitive examples and use it for a warmer activity. Then, students have to work with a partner to dictate it. After that, they can put the conversation into the correct order so that it’s coherent.
After that, the game is done. But, then I’d briefly explain infinitives and gerunds and give some examples. Next, students can look through their conversations to find examples of each and underline them. Find out more about this activity here:
Likes and dislikes are a natural fit for gerunds and infinitives. This combination is probably the most common usage. For example:
- I like playing soccer. / I like to play soccer.
- He doesn’t like eating vegetables. / He doesn’t like to eat vegetables.
There are a ton of fun things you do with this. Find out some of my favourite options:
Try out this challenging listening activity with your higher-level students. A nice topic is someone talking about their habits, daily schedule or hobbies. It should contain numerous infinitive and gerund sentences.
Then, put students into pairs and read it out at a faster than normal pace. Students can take notes and then compare them with a partner to try to recreate what they just heard. Repeat the process. Then, students can compare what they have with the original version that you read.
This can be the basis of a gerund/infinitive lesson. Check it out:
#13: Sentence Building Activities
Time spent working on sentence structure will never be wasted time! This is the foundation of being able to speak or write in any language. This is also true of sentences using these kinds of verbs. Check out some of my favourite activities for working on this:
#14: ESL Reading Lesson
A nice way to teach about gerunds/infinitives is with a reading lesson. Check out this short video for everything you need to know about how plan this kind of lesson:
#15: Puzzle Finder
This is a simple activity for beginners who are just getting started with these kinds of sentences. Make up some sentences with a gerund or an infinitive. Then, put half of each sentence on a matching puzzle piece. Students have to circulate around the class to find their matches.
Find out all the details here:
#16: Gerund vs. Infinitive Sorting
Prepare a list of verbs and have students categorize them as either “gerunds” or “infinitives.” Discuss the rules that determine which form is used after each verb.
#17: Grammar Jeopardy
Create a Jeopardy-style game with categories related to gerunds and infinitives. Each category can have different questions of varying difficulty levels. Students choose a category and question, and they must answer using the correct form.
#18: Role-Play Scenarios
Give students scenarios where they need to use gerunds and infinitives in conversations. For example, they can act out situations like giving advice, making plans, or expressing preferences.
#19: Song Lyrics Analysis
Choose song lyrics that include gerunds and infinitives. Have students identify and underline these forms in the lyrics, discussing their usage afterward.
#20: Grammar Detective
Provide students with a short text and ask them to find examples of gerunds and infinitives. They can work in pairs or groups and present their findings to the class.
#21: Fill in the Blanks
Provide sentences with gaps to be filled with the correct gerunds or infinitives. Students complete the sentences individually or in groups.
Gerunds and Infinitives Worksheets
Here are some of the best infinitive and gerund exercises:
ESL Gerund Infinitive Lesson Plans
If you’re a teacher, then you already know how much time it can save to use lessons that other teachers have created! Here are some of the top options for infinitive and gerund ESL lessons:
Infinitive and Gerund Online Exercises
If your students need some extra practice opportunities, then here are some gerunds and infinitives practice sites to check out:
Did you like these Infinitive Gerund Activities?
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- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 87 Pages - 10/24/2019 (Publication Date)
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FAQs About ESL Gerunds and Infinitives
There are a number of common questions that people have about gerunds and infinitives ESL. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What is a gerund?
A gerund is the -ing form of a verb that functions as a noun in a sentence. For example, “Swimming is my favorite hobby.”
When do we use gerunds?
We use gerunds to talk about actions, activities, or experiences. They often come after verbs like “enjoy,” “like,” “dislike,” and “hate.”
Give an example of a sentence with a gerund.
“I enjoy swimming in the ocean.”
What is an infinitive?
An infinitive is the base form of a verb with “to” (e.g., to swim, to eat). It can function as a noun, adjective, or adverb in a sentence.
When do we use infinitives?
We use infinitives after certain verbs like “want,” “need,” “plan,” and “decide.” They can also follow adjectives and nouns.
Can an infinitive be the subject of a sentence?
Yes, an infinitive can function as the subject of a sentence. For example, “To learn a new language is challenging.”
Give an example of a sentence with an infinitive.
“She wants to visit Paris next summer.”
What’s the difference between “stop to” and “stop -ing”?
“Stop to” means you pause an action to do something else. “Stop -ing” means you quit an ongoing action to do something else.
Which form (gerund or infinitive) comes after “remember”?
“Remember” is often followed by a gerund, as in “I remember watching that movie.”
How can we remember which verbs are followed by gerunds or infinitives?
Some verbs have specific patterns, but others require memorization. Practice and exposure to the language will help you become more comfortable with them.
What’s the rule for using “forget” with gerunds and infinitives?
“Forget” is usually followed by a gerund to refer to a past action that you don’t remember doing. It’s followed by an infinitive to express something you need to remember to do in the future.
Have your Say about Teaching Gerunds & Infinitives
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Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API