13.4.1 infinitive with other verbs

There are several differences in the use of the infinitive in Italian and in English.

1) In English the infinitive can have a subject that is not the subject of the finite verb.

We expected him to do the job.

=> WE expect something, but HE does the job.

2) In English certain verbs can add an infinitive or a gerund without any change in the meaning of the sentence. Three different situations can be distinguished.

a) The infinitive as well as the gerund are possible

He attempted repairing his bike alone.

He attempted to repair his bike alone.

b) Both are possible, but not in the same context.

It started to rain. (unconscious action)

He started working. (conscious action)

c) Either the infinitive or the gerund are possible.

He told me not to do it.
not: He told me doing....

John succeeded in repairing the car.
not: John succeeded in repair...

The only way to translate an English gerund keeping the structure of the sentence is with an infinitivo. An English gerund can never be translated with the gerundio. The English gerund is verbal substantive, has caracteristics of a verb and a noun, can be so object or subject of a sentence. The Italian gerundio is an adverb and can never be subject or object of a sentence.

We are going to see in the following pages that the infinitivo is normally combined to the verb with the same preposition with which a noun would be added.

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