gerund or infinitive?

kainlow   Friday, June 13, 2003, 13:58 GMT
I'v just discoverd this forum and it is really very very hepful for me as a foreigner. So I've got one question (at this moment):
1. "My aunt likes to sit in her armchair"
2. "My aunt likes sitting in her armhair"
Which one is better, which sounds more naturally for a native speaker? And what is the difference between them - in what kind of context should I use the first and the second one?
Forgive my poor English.
kainlow   Friday, June 13, 2003, 14:25 GMT
nobody wants to answer me? Please, be nice!
Simon   Friday, June 13, 2003, 14:47 GMT
To me, and I could well be wrong here, they mean the same. I was trying to look for a clever subtle difference but the meaning to me is for both "your aunt enjoys the experience of being sat/seated in her armchair"
Fisher   Friday, June 13, 2003, 16:52 GMT
But, as I understand, for example "They stopped to talk" and "The stopped talking" are not the same (by the way, is it "are" or "is" here?). The first one means something like "they stopped, becaise they wanted to talk", while the second means "they were talking and then stopped talking".
Is there a general hint?
Kabam   Friday, June 13, 2003, 19:56 GMT
After like, the gerund is used when it's about appreciating something and infinitive is utilized when you find good to do something (whithout necessarily finding it pleasant).

e.g. I like playing polo. => I find that playing polo is pleasant.

e.g. I like to go to the dentist's twice a year. I find it good or necessary to go to the dentist's twice a year, but I don't necessarily appreciate it.

Native speakers, correct me if I'm wrong, as usual. ;)
Lana   Friday, June 13, 2003, 20:42 GMT
Reply from a native speaker:

kainlow, both ways of saying it are exactly the same.

Fisher, you are correct.

Kabam, I would not make that distinction about appreciating or finding something good. It would be the same meaning to say "I like to play polo" or "I like going to the dentist's twice a year." I don't see any difference.
Kabam   Saturday, June 14, 2003, 00:06 GMT
Well it's more probable you're right rather than me, but I heard this from a British. So is that really sure there is no distinction?
ats   Saturday, June 14, 2003, 01:06 GMT
my aunt likes to shit while she is sitting in her armchair
the infinitiv you use when you refer to an action that takes place only one time . the -ing form is for a continuous action.
to ats   Saturday, June 14, 2003, 13:46 GMT
Your aunt has really great hobbies.
Suppose you have the sames?
Lana   Saturday, June 14, 2003, 17:54 GMT
Maybe the British make a distinction. I read a lot of British books, but I didn't notice that. It might be too subtle for me :)
Kabam   Saturday, June 14, 2003, 18:58 GMT
Thanks Lana. British people, would you say you make a distinction or not?
Logan   Sunday, June 15, 2003, 01:23 GMT
I think it depends on the verb, sometimes you can use both, but other times they can have different meanings. There's also cases where only one form is acceptable. I'm not sure if there's an easy way to work it out or not.
I remember a german friend of mine had a homework assignment on them once and found it quite hard but as a native speaker all I could say was, that one sounds right, that one just sounds wrong.
It's a sitcom here   Sunday, June 15, 2003, 15:30 GMT
There's Lana, Clark, logan... Who else?
Jim   Monday, June 16, 2003, 00:12 GMT
There's me too.

I'd agree with Logan. It depends on the verb before the gerund or infinitive.

"I like doing it." and "I like to do it." mean the same thing but "I stop doing it." and "I stop to do it." mean different things. You can say "I enjoy doing it." but "I enjoy to do it." is wrong.
Max   Monday, June 16, 2003, 11:02 GMT
I once read in Swan's Practical English Usage that there is a difference in meaning between "like+ -ing form" and "like + infinitive" in some dialect. I can't remember if it's American or British English that makes the distinction, though.