Stop Sign

Stop Doing or Stop To Do - What's The Difference?

Many verbs are follows by gerunds (these are ‘ing’ verbs) and others prefer to be followed by an infinitive (to + verb). Usually, the meaning doesn’t change regardless of which one you use. However, with the verb “stop”, the meaning can be completely the opposite.

It’s a simple rule, but an important one to avoid misunderstandings. 

'Stop' Rule

Stop + infinitive = Take a break in what you are doing

Example: I stopped walking


Stop + gerund = Stop your current task to start another task

Example: I stopped to walk

To expand on this a bit more, when “stop” is followed by an infinitive, this is just the simple meaning that you probably already understand.

When we use a gerund (stop + ing verb), this is like saying what you are stopping to do.

I stopped to eat =

I stopped doing something so that I could eat

I stopped doing something in order to eat

Does this make sense to you? Let me know and give me some more examples in the comments!

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