Gerund vs to-infinitive

Please read:

  1. Nice talking to you vs Nice to talk to you.
  2. Playing tennis is fun vs To play tennis is fun.

What is the difference in meaning between “gerund” and “to-infinitive” in 2 couples of sentences?


I guess there is no difference but Nice talking to you I don’t like,it seems not completed

Hi Khahn

I would interpret both as something that would be said at the end of a conversation. Omitting the beginning of the sentence is quite normal in spoken English:
(It was/has been) nice talking to you.

I suppose the infinitive is also possible, but I prefer the gerund.

  • Playing tennis is fun --> a normal and correct sentence
  • To play tennis is fun. --> sounds odd
    I don’t like the second sentence because to play is much more “verb-like” than playing (gerund) and fun (an adjective) is better used to to modify words that are very clearly nouns. :wink:


Hi Amy,

Can I also say “Nice talking to you” at the beginning of a conversation?


No, because talking gives the feeling that the conversation already has “duration”. So, it doesn’t work well at the start of a conversation.


Hi Van Khanh,

The main difference between the gerund and the infinitive is one of specificity or preciseness or exactness.
In your examples playing and to play if you say:

It is fun/nice/good to play tennis, there is a suggestion that you are going on to say when such as: on a fine day/in the summer - in other words you give an indication of something specific/ particular.

If you say: It’s fun playing tennis, you are making a general statement about playing the game of tennis.

This is better illustrated when these two constructions (gerund and infinitive) are the objects of a verb:

I like to play tennis in the summer when the sun is shining.

or simply:

I like playing tennis.


Thanks Mister Alan, thanks Amy,


Can I also say “Nice to talk to you” at the beginning of a conversation? :?



I will respond to the second point, if I may, Amy. I think in fact Amy has already covered the point indicating when you say:

You really have to talk first before you can say Nice to talk to you so it would occur naturally after you have had a bit of a chat.


Dear Sir,

In case of meeting a partner for the first time, when I shake his hand, can I say:

Nice to talk to you (like the greeting at the beginning of a conversation)?


Hi Van Khanh,

I can only repeat that you don’t say Nice to talk to you until you have been talking for a little while. A greeting could be: Nice to meet you.


Hi Khahn

When you meet someone for the first time, after the introduction it would be typical to say:

(It’s) Nice to meet you.

At the end of the conversation on the day where you were first introduced to someone you might say:

(It was) Nice meeting you./It was nice to meet you.

If you see someone you already know, a typical greeting might be:

It’s nice to see you (again).

With the word talk, it really would be somewhat unusual to say “Nice to talk to you” or “Nice talking to you” even in the middle of the conversation. I think it would be worded differently in mid-conversation and it wouldn’t resemble the shortened “good-bye form”. For example:

I hadn’t thought of that! It’s really nice to have/having a chance to talk to you again! You always manage to look at things from such a fresh perspective. So, what you’re saying is….”


Oops! I see Alan has also answered. Sorry if my post is “overkill”.

Hi Amy,

I have understood all. thanks. :smiley: