Stop doing vs stop to do

Stop doing vs stop to do

What is the difference between stop to do and stop doing?

Stop to do and stop doing (stop doing vs stop to do) have different meanings. The examples below along with explanations will definitely help you understand the difference between the two structures (stop to do vs stop doing).

  1. He stopped eating his lunch.
  2. He stopped to eat his lunch.

What’s the difference?

Sentence 1 means that he was eating lunch and he stopped the action of eating.

Sentence 2 means that he was doing something (e.g. driving, working, etc.) and he stopped in order to eat.

Stop doing vs stop to do

Now, look at these two sentences. We have stop + gerund (ing form) and stop + to-infinitive. So what is the difference between ‘I stopped to smoke’ and ‘I stopped smoking.’

  1. I stopped smoking.
  2. I stopped to smoke.

Sentence 1 means I used to smoke, but now I don’t smoke anymore. 

Sentence 1 also means I stopped the action of smoking, maybe, to start doing something else.

Sentence 2 means I was doing something but I stopped doing it so as to smoke.  In other words, I stopped for a purpose, which was smoking.


Stop doing vs stop to do


  • We use ‘stop + gerund (verb+ing)’ to show that an action stops.
  • We use ‘stop + infinitive with to’ to show that we stop an action so as to start a different one.

What’s the difference between the two sentences below?

  1. My child stopped playing.
  2. My child stopped to play.

Your answers are really welcome. Write them in the comment section below.

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