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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > What is the differnce in the meaning?    

What is the differnce in the meaning?


What is the differnce in the meaning?
  Hi guys!
 Please I need help with this.
 What is the difference between:
 I forgot to lock the door.
 I forgot locking the door.
 I am not sure but I think the first one means I did not lock the door because I  forgot while the second one means I am not sure if I did or not.
 But I am not sure.. Can anyone help me please.

11 Oct 2010      


You �re right.
forget+ to-infinitive means not to remember to do sth
forget+ bare infinitive means "I cannot recall doing sth in the past"
Have a nice day!

11 Oct 2010     


I forgot to lock the door.   This sentence is correct- You believe the door is unlocked. 
The second sentence is not correct.
You could say: I can �t remember locking the door.   (not I forgot locking)
or: I don �t think I locked the door.

11 Oct 2010     


Hi sahuma,
it works just like forget + ing or forget + to, as Apodo and Valentina clearly explained . Many verbs do that, e.g. mean, regret, like, try, stop. There are ws which explain the use of gerund and / or infinitive to . You may want to check some out! Have a great Monday!

11 Oct 2010     


Hi. Your assumption is right!

By the way, "stop" �doing something vs. "stop" �to do � something is sort of similar to "forgot", so I hope my examples will prove useful & will clarify the difference for you.

1. I stopped buying shoes. => means you do not buy shoes anymore.

2. I stopped to buy shoes. => means you were walking/driving, then you stopped and bought some shoes.

OR something similar to your example (using "forgot"):

1. My mum forgot posting the letters. => means she cannot remember whether she has posted the letters or not.

2. My mum forgot to post the letters. => means she did not post the letters.


11 Oct 2010     


sorry but I agree with Apodo.
you cannont say "I forgot locking the door"
let me explain why:
I stopped buying shoes (because it was too expensive) = you no longer buy shoes "-ing" means that the process is long, recurring...
I stopped locking the door 5 years ago (I live in a region where there �s no crime, there �s no need for me to lock the door) -ing also means the act of "not lock the door" is recurring

but I forgot locking the door is not correct because the verb "forget" doesn �t include the idea of a recurring fact - while verbs like STOP, TRY, LIKE... include the idea that the thing you do/did lasted a while (I stopped to buy shoes = you were doing something, and you stopped) - so FORGET (= one time occurrence) + -ING (= occurring many times) = that doesn �t work

but you can say "I keep on forgetting to lock the door"

is it clear?

have a nice day!

11 Oct 2010     


I just taught this grammar point and I studied the theory thoroughly.

In very simple words I forgot to lock the door means I forgot to do it (so the door is not locked now) whereas I forgot locking the door means I forgot the fact that I had locked the door (so the door is locked but I don �t remember doing it).

11 Oct 2010     

United States

"I forgot locking the door" doesn �t seem to be right (even though my first thoughts were that it was okay).
Even though I may say it when speaking, I think it is incorrect and should be: "I forgot to lock ..."  or "I had forgotten locking..."  or "I forgot having locked..."
I �m not 100% sure on this one though.

11 Oct 2010     

United States

I would agree with Douglas with a little twist.  I would never say, " I forgot locking the door." I would say, "I forgot if I locked the door" or "I cannot remember if I locked the door." In fact, this morning I said to myself, "did I forget to lock the door." At the same time, I have never in my life heard anyone say, "I forgot locking the door."  Maybe, "I forgot if I locked the door." 


11 Oct 2010     


I forgot to lock the door. = I �m sure I didn �t.
I forgot locking the door. = I �m not sure, since I can �t remember whether I locked it or not.
The verb "to forget" can be followed either by the infinitive or the -ing form, with different meanings.

11 Oct 2010     


this sentence: I forgot to lock the door. -- Is correct and it means what you think it means - that you didn �t remember to lock the door.

The sentence: I forgot locking the door -- is at best an incomplete sentence. The construction is not wrong. It �s the same time as other verbs like remember, retry, stop... just that the meaning is off and doesn �t mean what you think it does...

i.e. I forgot locking the door was important. -which would make this sentence complete; means  you didn �t realize or didn �t remember that locking the door was important. Here "locking" refers to the activity - not the verb itself - of closing the door with a key. It doesn �t refer to forgetting or not to do something in the past. It really has nothing to do with what you think it does or  what the rule implies.

More examples:

I forgot swimming was such a fun. - I forgot jogging at night was so tiring.-I forgot posting Christmas cards before December 1 was a mistake.- I forgot ironing shirts was such hard work.

All the sentences above mean that you have forgotten that the mentioned activity has certain consequences and has nothing to do with remembering if you have done it or not the past.

I hope this explanation helps somewhat, I know it �s a bit confusing because it doesn �t follow the "rules".

11 Oct 2010     

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