I understand there is a difference in usage between
"I bother to do something." and "I bother doing something." similarly "I cease to do sth." and "I cease doing sth."
I have been looking for the solution in grammar books, but so far I haven't found a satisfactory explanation.
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Hello Kalamajka

Welcome to this Forum.

The choice between "doing" and "to do" is really messy. Some verbs take only "doing" and some only "to do" and still some verbs can take both. Every English learner should be annoyed with this problem. But there seems no way other than learning them one by one.

In the case "bother", you can say both "bother doing" and "bother to do" and the meanings are the same.
(EX) Why do you bother learning/to learn English?

The verb "cease" also can take both "doing" and "to do".
(EX) I'll cease writing/to write the diary.
However if the "do" is a stative verb such as "exist", "live" or "love", you have to choose only "to do".
(EX) He ceased to exist last night.

Hi Kalamajka,

Welcome to the Forum.

There is a big difference in meaning with some verbs. eg

I stopped talking to Tom. The talking was 'before' the stopping.

I stopped to talk to Tom. First I stopped, then I talked.

I'm not sure if this is what you are thinking about. Anyway, I don't see this distinction, or any other real difference, in your examples.

I bother to do something. I think this would typically be used in the negative: 'I didn't bother to do my homework' or in a remark like "I don't know why I bothered to call Mary'.

I bother doing something. 'I didn't bother doing my homework'.

I think in all three examples, the bothering precedes the doing/not doing. I don't see any real difference.

I cease to do sth. 'I ceased to love Mary'. First the loving, then the ceasing.

I cease doing sth. 'I ceased loving Mary'. The same.

Again, I don't see any real difference.

Best wishes, Clive

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Hi, and thank you for your kind reply. I didn't distinguish between the usage of bother/cease to do/doing either until I bumped into some excersises on the internet: http://www.nonstopenglish.com/exercise.asp?exid=778 (see questions 11, 12, 13 and 16, 17), where clearly, there must be some sort of a difference

11. Don't bother (do) ____ the dishes.

12. He hasn't even bothered (write) ____.
to write

13. She walked out of the room without bothering (say) ____ goodbye.
to say


16. Farmers will cease (be) ____ liable for tax.

to be

17. We must cease (dump) ____ waste into rivers and the sea.

to dump

Thanks very much for your help,

Well, I don't see any real difference in these examples. You could use either form, subject to minor and personal style preferences. In 13, it's not nice to have two '-ing' forms together.


My tries were as below but I too feel both forms may be OK.

11. Don't bother to do the dishes. [negation]
[google check] don't bother to do 16,600 / don't bother doing 24,900
12. He hasn't even bothered to write. [negation]
[google check] hasn't bothered to write 528 / hasn't bothered writing 68
13. She walked out of the room without bothering to say goodbye.[style]
[google check] bothering to say 9540 / bothering saying 414
16. Farmers will cease to be liable for tax. [stative verb]
[google check] cease to be liable 706 / cease being liable 21
17. We must cease dumping waste into rivers and the sea. [dynamic verb]
[google check] cease to dump 42 / cease dumping 435


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Thank you! The Google check is a really good idea. It seems, though, that there is an obvious preference in the examples mentioned above, and it seems you need to be a native speaker to know when to use the -ing form and when to use the infinitive.
You are right. What we ESLs can do to learn that sort of thing is nothing but following native speakers. What's a problem to us is native speakers themselves don't know why they are speaking the way they are doing. In many cases, the reason they could give us is no more than "we are speaking so".

Hi i think the solution is quite clear to you imagine a situation where you have been working hard to do something you can say " i bothered to get where i am today" in the sense of i worked hard for it, in this case you are talking one single event in your life. Whereas if you say "i dont bother making new friends any more" you talking about an habit of yours.
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