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Gerunds (-ing forms) after prepositions

Posted by Manjusha. Filed in English Grammar

When we put a verb after a preposition, we normally use an –ing form, not an infinitive.

  • I am fond of watching movies. (NOT I am fond of to watch movies.)
  • John was arrested for stealing a policeman’s helmet. (NOT … for to steal …)
  • Can you talk without opening your mouth?
  • I am thinking of writing a novel.
  • You must abstain from talking to such people.
  • We got the job finished by burning the midnight oil.
  • We look forward to hearing from you.
To as a preposition

To can be an infinitive marker (e.g. to work, to laugh). It can also be a preposition. When to is a preposition, it is followed by either a noun or the –ing form of a verb, but not normally by the infinitive. Common expressions in which this happens are look forward to, object to, used to, prefer to, get round to, in addition to.

Compare:

  • I look forward to his next visit. (noun)
  • I look forward to hearing from you. (NOT I look forward to hear from you.)
  • I prefer the country to the city. (noun)
  • I prefer swimming to walking.
  • I am used to waiting for buses. (NOT I am used to wait for buses.)
  • They objected to our entering the room.
  • I object to working on Sundays.

Sections in this article

-ing Forms
Verbs that can be followed by -ing forms
-ing forms after nouns and adjectives
-ing forms after prepositions

 

 

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