STOP! Infinitive or -ing form? Grammar B2

What is the difference between these two sentences?

1. I stopped talking to my friend

2. I stopped to talk to my friend

Maybe you think they mean the same, but that is a big mistake. You are saying two completely different thing and other people will understand the wrong thing if you use these two forms incorrectly.

The use of the gerund (talking) and the infinitive (to talk) is a difficult subject in English.

For example, we say “I don’t want to clean my room” but “I avoid cleaning my room”. Is there any logic in this? Of course not, this is English! But in these cases, if you make a mistake and use the gerund instead of the infinitive, the message is the same, so we don’t have a communication problem.

However, with the verb “stop”, using the gerund or the infinitive changes the meaning completely, so it’s important to know the difference.

If I say “I stopped talking to my friend”, I am saying that I don’t talk to my friend anymore because I am angry with him.

“John stole money from me, so I have stopped talking to him.”

But if I say “I stopped to talk to my friend”, it means that I stopped what I was doing and I talked to my friend. I am not angry with him. On the contrary, I want to talk to him.

“I saw John in the park and I stopped to talk to him.”

This means that I physically stopped and then I talked to him.

So, remember: the gerund/infinitive chapter in English grammar is difficult. But if you make a grammar mistake, that is not a big problem. But if you are changing the message because of the mistake, then you need to be careful.

Focus on “stop talking” and “stopped to talk”.

Good luck!

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