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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #113059: TO + verb base or TO + V + ing
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Idioms | Infinitive | -ing [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Adjectives-ing and ed - Infinitive clause - FOR and its use - Infinitive phrase - Gerund - Past Simple or Past Continuous - Gerunds - To...or not?
    > Double-click on words you don't understand


    TO + verb base or TO + V + ing


     

     

       Many non-native English speakers are reluctant to use –ing after “TO”. Maybe it is because you've learnt, at school that after “TO” a verb should always be  in the infinitive...(please revise the lesson.)  test

       I) This is only half true. “TO” actually has TWO DIFFERENT FUNCTIONS:

        – EITHER an infinitive marker (i.e. to show that the next word is an infinitive verb):

        - The kid doesn't want to tidy up his room.

       - OR a preposition (- He has gone to lunch).

       When “TO” acts as a preposition,  it is usually followed by an –ing form (which in this case is a gerund) or a noun/ noun phrase, like in these examples:

    -  I like cats – I like tennis – I like swimming (Here, "swimming" is a gerund)

    -  to run:  I'm running – He isn't swimming, just diving. Here, “running” and “swimming”, “diving” are two verbs .

       II)  When is it correct to use “TO" plus – ing?

       In English, the form V + -ing is called a gerund if it serves as a noun. For example, the gerund form of "run" is "running". (I like cats, I like dogs, I like running). However, not all V + ing forms are gerunds:

       - In "I am running because I'm late.", "running" is a verb where you use to + V + -ing

       1) If the TO is part of a phrasal verb or a verb + preposition combination:

       A phrasal verb is something like "look forward to", "confess to", etc. In this case, the "TO" is part of the verb itself and is followed by -ing.

              - I'm looking forward to meeting my friend again.

     

        2) If the TO is part of an adjective + preposition combinationto be used/ accustomed to- to be opposed to- to be addicted to- to be devoted to- to be  given to-  to be used to-   

        It is not just the preposition TO  that imposes the gerund, but the construction  to be+ adjective+TO +V+ing .

            - A lot of little girls aren't accustomed to going to school in this country. 

            - Most citizens are opposed to paying increased taxes. 

       These look similar to the examples above, but you can tell that a word like "opposed" and "accustomed" are adjectives in these cases, because there is a  form of the verb to be before them and can be replaced by other adjectives ( here : "afraid" and "angry").    

      

                                                                                   

       3) If the TO is part of a noun + preposition combination:

            - His addiction to drinking was the cause of a very serious accident.

            - Paula's  dedication to volunteering is a surprise at her age.

     

       III) Please, ... is there a trick, a "recipe" to help us recognize the difference between the two constructions?

     

                                                                                

     

    When dealing with verbs needing the -ing form behind the preposition TO, the process is "simple"! They are very few and you only have to learn them, together with their construction. I can see you frowning, but know that making such a mistake will betray you as a foreigner and a beginner...

    Moreover, for verbs as well as for derived adjectives and nouns, you'll soon get used to using them... and everything will go smoothly !


    Finally, if you have the slightest doubt, try to think quickly and to replace the "verb + ing" construction by an equivalent noun. If the sentence makes sense, the gerund is the right solution; if not, you need an infinitive form... Easy, isn't it? 

     

     



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    1) Your father doesn’t object you to the party at Pat’s on Saturday.
    2) I'm looking forward him again when he’s back from the USA.
    3) I’m awfully sorry, but I’m totally opposed him my car for the weekend!
    4) He doesn’t want you her offer!
    5) I wouldn’t like him to take alcohol after the terrible disappointment he’s had.
    6) He only came to see her with a view some money from her.
    7) He didn’t expect such a fast answer.
    8) Don’t drive me to school… I’m used there with my friends.
    9) When will you get around that report? It will just take you an hour.
    10) Even if everyone knew it, he didn’t admit to the police.
    11) Mrs Parks was totally devoted for her community and was fed up with segregation.
    12) He confessed into the house and the jewels.
    13) He wasn’t accustomed so early and dozed all day long!
    14) Well well, when I have piles of tests to correct, I quickly get addicted chocolate…

                                                         








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