December 11


Stop to do vs. Stop doing


Hi everyone, you’re listening to Cambridge Exam Coach, a podcast for people who want to improve their English.

I’m Kristian, your host, and in this episode we’re talking about the difference between ‘stop doing something’ and ‘stop to do something’.

When we use ‘stop + verb + ing’, the activity in the -ing form stops. The meaning is ‘quit’ or ‘finish’. 

For example, ‘I have stopped drinking beer’. I’m not drinking beer anymore. I’m only drinking wine now.

Other examples are:

My doctor recently told me I should stop drinking coffee. I should quit drinking coffee.

I stopped working at 8pm last night. I finished working at 8pm.

My nephew stopped playing video games after 10 hours! He finished playing games.

But when stop is followed by the infinitive, we stop doing another action to do the action in the infinitive.

The meaning is ‘take a break to do something’.

For example, let’s imagine that you stopped working on your project to check your messages.

You can say, ‘I stopped to check my messages’.

Other examples are:

She stopped to smoke. She was doing something, then she took a break so that she could smoke.

This morning in the office, I stopped to call my sister. I stopped working to phone my sister.

I often stop to drink some water during the day. I often take a break and drink some water.

All right, that’s all for today. I’m going to stop talking now.

Take care of yourself, and each other, and I’ll speak to you on the podcast soon, but for now it’s time to say bye bye!

About the author 


Kristian is from The Netherlands, but he lives in Prague, Czechia. He is a CELTA qualified teacher who passed the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam with grade A. When he's not working, he likes to chill out with music, podcasts or an audiobook.


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