grammatical word: stop


Last week, I wrote about the different between “tried” + infinitive and “tried” + -ing. This week, I would like to do the same thing with the verb “stop”.

When we use “stop” + infinitive (“to” + base form of a verb), it means that we cease our current activity in order to do something else. When we use “stop” + gerund (-ing form of a verb), it means that we quit a certain activity forever. For example:

While I was driving to my hometown, I stopped to get something to eat.

I’m a little tired right now. Can we stop to relax for a few minutes?

A: Where’s Ben? I thought he was working.

B: He was, but he stopped to have a cigarette. He’ll be back in a few minutes.

Last year, my father stopped smoking. I’m so proud of him.

Would you please stop tapping your pen on the table? It’s really annoying!

My doctor tells me I should stop drinking so much beer, but I really love it!

The difference between these two forms is very important, so my suggestion is that you memorize the sentences and then change the small details to make new sentences. That way it will be less confusing for you, and the English structures will eventually become natural in your mind.

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