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Behaviour that gets on your nerves

What gets on your nerves?
What drives you mad?
What behaviour can’t you stand?

Read what the following people say about annoying behaviour. Who do you agree with?

I can’t stand watching the news on TV I hate seeing pictures of people suffering and I think the sensationalism and exploitation of the media is disgusting.

I hate being ignored. When I speak, I expect to be given the courtesy of receiving the attention of the person I’m talking to.

Driving and using a mobile phone at the same time is really annoying. Last week a saw a man with a mobile in one hand and lighting a cigarette with the other. How can a person drive safely without using any hands? It’s impossible to do safely!

Not telling the truth is probably the worst thing anyone can do to me. I hate people who use lies and dishonesty to get what they want in life.

I try hard not to notice, but it really bothers me when people pick their nose in public.

People who forget to say ‘thank you’ really annoy me. I don’t like to be taken for granted. Those two small words cost nothing and go a long way.


To take (s.o/s.t.) for granted = no darse cuenta de lo que
vale algo /dar algo por descontado.

'-ing' forms and Infinitives

Find at least one example of the following in the above text:

a) A verb followed by an infinitive.

b) A verb followed by a passive infinitive.

c) A verb followed by an ‘-ing’ form.

d) '–ing' forms as the subject of the sentence.
(eg. smoking is unhealthy.)

e) An ‘-ing form that is an adjective.

f) An infinitive after an adjective.

g) An ‘-ing’ form after a preposition.

h) An infinitive after a noun.

Answers Check your answers.

‘-ing’ forms and infinitives can be in affirmative and negative forms.

'-ing' forms  Infinitives
Doing it was a mistake Try to be on time
Not doing it was worse Try not to notice
  We appear to be making progress
Before having tried it, I can’t tell you We appear to have made progress
  We appear to have been making progress
I dislike not being shown any respect I deserve to be shown some respect
I’m angry about not having been shown any respect I would like to have been shown some respect



• Adjectives are normally followed by the infinitive (with 'to').
  It’s very easy to understand why politicians are so difficult to believe.

Some adjectives can be followed by the infinitive, or a preposition + the ‘-ing’ form. Prepositions are always followed by the ‘-ing’ form.
  I’m very interested in collecting old photographs.

• Many nouns are followed by the infinitive (with ‘to’).
  There is no reason to believe that Juan stole the money.

However, there are some nouns that are followed by ‘-ing’ or preposition + ‘ing’
  We had trouble finding the hotel.
  There’s no hope of seeing him alive.

• Many verbs are followed by the infinitive (with ‘to’).
  You seem to like your job in New York.

• Some verbs can have an object before the infinitive.
  I don’t want him to get the job.

• Some verbs must have an object.
  Did they invite us to go to their barbecue?

These verbs all have an object before the infinitive: tell, forbid, warn, advise, encourage, teach, force, allow, order, persuade, remind, permit, urge.

• Some verbs take an infinitive without 'to', especially modal verbs (can, could, may, might, must, will, would, shall, should)
  I must buy some more milk.

We also use the infinitive without ‘to’ after let, make, would rather and had better.
  I’d better go now, it’s late.

  '-ing' form

• Some verbs can be followed by an ‘-ing’ form, or a preposition + ‘-ing’ form.
  When you finish eating, maybe you’d like to join us for a drink at the bar?
  I apologise for not writing sooner.

• Some verbs have an object + preposition + '-ing' form.
You can’t blame me for being in love.
The following verbs follow the same pattern: suspect (someone) + of…/ accuse (someone) + of…/ condemn, criticise, forgive, punish, thank (someone) + for…/ discourage, prevent, stop (someone) + from…/ congratulate (someone) + on…

  Verbs that take both infinitives and the '-ing' form

• For some verbs the infinitive is used for the future, and the ‘-ing’ form for the past.
Remember to buy milk on your way home from work. (future)
I remember living in London when I was young. (past)

We regret to inform passengers that the next flight is delayed. (future)
I regret not going to university. (past)

Other verbs that take both the infinitive and the '-ing' form include: start, begin, continue, intend, like, love, hate, stop, prefer, mean, need and try

Some verbs, like try, mean and stop, for example, can be followed by an infinitive or an ‘-ing’ form, but with a change in meaning.
Try sitting closer to the board: you might be able to see better. (try = experiment to see what happens)
I tried to lift the table by myself, but it was too heavy. (tried = made an effort/attempted to do something)

Dieting usually means giving up things you enjoy (means = involves)
I meant to send him an email, but I forgot (meant = intended)

I've stopped drinking alcohol and I feel much better. (stopped = stopped the activity)
I worked from 8 until 11.30 and then stopped to have a coffee and a cigarette. (stopped = stopped doing one thing in order to do another.)


Complete the sentences with one of the adjectives from the box, a suitable preposition and the infinitive or '-ing' form of the verb in brackets. More than one answer may be possible. Follow the example.

inconvenient     responsible     interested
sorry     advisable     possible
anxious     afraid     bad
Example: Would it be (you/change) your appointment for next week?
               Would it be your appointment for next week?

1. Thank you for your presentation. We’d be very (speak) with you about possible collaboration with our company.
2. I’m really (not/phone) you yesterday, but something came up.
3. I’m rather (see) the final draft of the contract. Can you send it to me as soon as possible, please?
4. Who’s (look after) office security?
5. Our accountant said it wasn’t (us/expand) the business this year.
6. I’m really (do) things around the house. I’d rather pay a professional builder, painter, plumber or electrician to do the work for me.
7. My best friend Danny refuses to come and see me in Spain, because he’s (fly).
8. Is it (you /meet) me tomorrow for lunch?

Answers Check your answers.

Choose the best verb form to complete the sentences.

1. It’s very easy English when you study with 'La Mansión del Inglés'.
2. I’ve stopped and now I can do exercise without out of breath.
3. on the Internet is something I’m not used .
4. Please try on time for the meeting because we’d like before lunch.
5. in love means not to say you’re sorry.
6. Don’t forget the kids from school on your way home from the office.

Answers Check your answers.

Over To You

Complete the following sentences so that they are true for you.

1. I intend in five years time.
2. I would never agree
3. I can’t stand
4. I strongly dislike being made
5. I’ve planned next weekend.
6. I love
7. I find it difficult
8. I’ve tried many times, but I’ve never had much success in

Listen to some examples and check your verb forms.


Read the transcription.

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