Verb Patterns

Verb Patterns

Grammar or Cocabulary?

Traditionally, we have divided the language into grammar and vocabulary. We always knew that some areas were grey - they seemed like grammar, but students just had to learn them.

Phrasal verbs are a good example.

Most students think of them as part of the grammar of English, but they are fixed verbal expressions.

Learning them is more like learning vocabulary.

You've really got to face up to your problems, you know.
Do you believe in life after death?
I wish you wouldn't insist on calling me Pooh in front of my friends!

There are many expressions using verbs which are best treated like vocabulary. In particular, verbs which can be followed by an infinitive structure or a gerund structure fall into this category:

He refused to do his homework.
I promised to wash the car.
I persuaded her to invite you as well.

Would you consider offering him the job?
I keep forgetting his name.

It is much better for students to learn the grammar of the word when they learn the word rather than build this area up into the 'Infinitives or gerunds problem'.

Students cannot guess which verb takes which structure. It is something they have to learn through meeting lots of examples. Rules do not help in this area.