Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Semantics of Verbal Complements: Gerund and Infinitive


          This work is dedicated exclusively to the student, who wanted to know if there is any difference in meaning between,

“I'm pleased to meet you”.
“I'm pleased meeting you”.

         It is also dedicated to all among learners who try hard seeking for authenticity in expression despite the prevailing Internet acronyms, text message jargon, abbreviations, initialisms, cyberslang, leetspeak, SMS code, txtspk, textese, smileys and so on.


         When the learners trigger the teaching process, effective learning takes place for both the teacher and the learner. Certainly, most learners have questions in mind. Those questions sometimes are the needed missing stimulus for the teacher to go further and deeper with the subject matter. Taciturn students do not really help with the teaching and learning processes. They should speak out their doubts about every shakily learned issue. They should question their acquired knowledge, and check for perfect understanding.

         The ignorance or the misuse of grammatical rules results in poor or distorted meaning. Take the gerund and the infinitive for instance, they cause a lot of trouble when they are not assimilated and used accurately. Both verb forms are rivals on delivering messages meaningfully. They both compete but also collaborate at times to facilitate communication. They make it either easy or hard for the listener to understand discourse.

       Generally, the gerund and the infinitive cooperate and take each other’s places without any change in meaning; however, there are instances where the gerund and the infinitive do completely different jobs vis-à-vis the meaning intended. Actually this is not a moody issue; it is controlled by grammatical rules. The learners not able to master each case separately may fall in complete disorientation and ambiguity.

      Thanks to the student’s inquiry, this paper will try to find out the secret behind these two somehow antagonist verbal complements’ collaboration and competition over meaning especially after specific verbs, prepositions and other expressions.