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English as a Second Language/Interested in + infinitive/gerund



What is the difference in meaning between:

(1) I am interested to read 'Hamlet'.
(2) I am interested in reading 'Hamlet'.

Thanks & best regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

ANSWER: Hi, Antoine,

If we are talking about a wish to do something, we generally use 'in' plus the gerund:

"I am interested in reading Hamlet."

If we are talking about a wish to find out about something, we can use either form:

"I'm interested to know whether he enjoyed the film."
"I'm interested in knowing whether he enjoyed the film."

If we are talking about our reaction to something we have found out, we generally use the 'to-' infinitive:

"I'm interested to hear that you directed Hamlet once."

Best wishes,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks, Jed! Then in my two examples I am now currently reading Hamlet but I wish to do so. Right?
What about "I love shopping in the mall" and " I love to shop in the mall". Is there any difference in meaning?
(Is the infinitive always refer to the future?)

Hi, Antoine,

Of your two sentences, only "I am interested in reading Hamlet" really works - a wish to do something in the future. If you are actually reading Hamlet now, I can't think of a natural way to use 'am interested to/in'.

With 'love/like/hate/etc', we have a different situation. There is not a great deal of difference between these verbs followed by an 'to-' infinitive or a gerund.  The more common gerund may suggest an enjoyment in general of the activity. The 'to-' infinitive may suggest a conscious choice:

"I like seeing my daughter every three months." - This gives me pleasure.
"I like to see my daughter every three months." - I have chosen to do this.

Best wishes,


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Jed Webb


I can assist with questions about English grammar (syntax, morphology, pronunciation and spelling)from learners taking such examinations as TOEFL, IELTS, FCE and CAE and other internationally recognised tests.


I have over forty years of experience in the teaching of modern languages, twenty-four of them in the Teaching of English as a Second Language. I have been an examiner for FCE, BEC and IELTS examinations, and a teacher trainer on courses leading to the Trinity College Certificate in TESOL.

The Philological Society The International Phonetic Association The College of Teachers The International Association of Teachers of EFL The Royal Society of Arts (Fellow)

British Journal of Language Teaching, Vol XIX Nos I and II Education Today, Vol 41, Nos 1 and 3 Co-Author: Nix and Webb (1984) 'Creative English', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Contributor: Nix and Riederer (1973), 'Bottoms Up', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Rosenau and Nix, (1979), 'Look it up', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Nix and Ringholz, 'English in Projects', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen

BA (English), University of Durham. Qualified Teacher Status, UK Department of Education and Science Further and Adult Education Teacher's Certificate, City and Guilds of London Institute ACP(TESOL), College of Preceptors Dip TESOL, Trinity College, London Dip Ed (ELT), Exeter University ACP (Management Studies in Education), College of Teachers Certificate of Proficiency in the Phonetics of English, International Phonetic Association

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I have taught: General and Business English classes for: Alcan, Allianz Versicherung, Robert Bosch, Daimler-Benz, Ford, Hewlett Packard, Kodak, Mövenpick, Radiomobil (O2), Siemens, Unilever. TOEFL and FCE classes for: eská Spoitelna,SOB, Czech Ministry of Trade, Czech Statistics Office.

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