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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #5585: Verb + -ing or to.(2)
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Infinitive | -ing [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Adjectives-ing and ed - Infinitive clause - FOR and its use - Gerund - Infinitive phrase - Infinitive in sentences - Look forward to/be used to - TO + verb base or TO + V + ing
    > Double-click on words you don't understand

    Verb + -ing or to.(2)

    Verb + -ing or to.(2)

    Try to... and try -ing

    Try to do = attempt to do, make an effort to do:

       I was very tired. I tried to keep my eyes open but I couldn't.

    • Please try to be quiet when you come home. Everyone will be asleep.


    Try also means 'do something as an experiment or test'. For example:

    • These cakes are delicious. You must try one. (= you must have one to see if you like it)

    • We couldn't find anywhere to stay. We tried every hotel in the town but they were all full. (= we went to every hotel to see if they had a room)


    If try (with this meaning) is followed by a verb, we say try -ing:

    • A: The photocopier doesn't seem to be working.

    B: Try pressing the green button. (= press the green button - perhaps this will help to solve the problem)


    • I tried to move the table but it was too heavy, (so I couldn't move it)

    • I didn't like the way the furniture was arranged, so I tried moving the table to the other side of the room. But it still didn't look right, so I moved it back again.


    Need to... and need -ing

    I need to do something = it is necessary for me to do it:

    • I need to take more exercise.

    • He needs to work harder if he wants to make progress.

    • I don't need to come to the meeting, do I?


    Something needs doing = something needs to be done:

    • The batteries in the radio need changing. (= they need to be changed)

    • Do you think my jacket needs cleaning? (=needs to be cleaned)

    • It's a difficult problem. It needs thinking about very carefully. (= it needs to be thought about)


    Help and can't help


    You can say 'help to do' or 'help do' (infinitive with or without to):

    • Everybody helped to clean up after the party, or Everybody helped clean up...

    • Can you help me to move this table? or Can you help me move...


    There is also an expression 'can't/couldn't help doing something'.

    'I can't help doing something' = I can't stop myself from doing it:

    • I don't like him but he has a lot of problems. I can't help feeling sorry for him.

    • She tried to be serious but she couldn't help laughing. (= she couldn't stop herself from laughing)

    • I'm sorry I'm so nervous. I can't help it. (= I can't help being nervous)


    Put the verb into the correct form, -ing or to.

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    English exercise "Verb + -ing or to.(2)" created by felin with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from felin]
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    1. 1 a) I was very tired. I tried my eyes open but I couldn’t.

    2. b) I rang the doorbell but there was no answer. Then I tried on the door, but there was still no answer.

    3. c) We tried the fire out but we were unsuccessful.

    4. d) Sue needed to borrow some money. She tried Gerry but he was short of money too.

    5. e) I tried the shelf but I wasn't tall enough.

    6. f) Please leave me alone. I'm trying .

    7. 2 a) I need a change. I need away for a while.

    8. b) She isn't able to look after herself. She needs after.

    9. c) The windows are dirty. They need .

    10. d) Why are you leaving now. You don't need yet, do you?

    11. 3 a) They were talking very loudly. I couldn't help them.

    12. b) Can you help me the dinner ready.

    13. c) He looks so funny. Whenever I see him, I can't help .

    14. d) The fine weather helped it a very enjoyable holiday.

    End of the free exercise to learn English: Verb + -ing or to.(2)
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