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English Grammar: To + Verb-ing

Updated: 4 days ago

Hi students! If you have been studying English for a while, you probably know the general rule of "to" followed by the infinitive of the verb. However, you probably also know that English is full of exceptions! In today's lesson we will be looking at one such exception: to + verb-ing (also known as a gerund). I'm going to break it down into three main parts: phrasal verbs, noun + preposition, and adjective + preposition.

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Components of To + Verb-ing

1. Phrasal Verbs/Verb + Preposition: Phrasal verbs are combinations of verbs and prepositions that convey a unique meaning beyond the sum of their parts. When followed by a gerund, they often express actions, emotions, or intentions. Here are some common examples:

  • Look forward to: I look forward to meeting you.

  • Object to: She objects to working late hours.

  • Admit to: He admitted to cheating on the test.

  • Confess to: They confessed to breaking the window.

  • Resort to: We may have to resort to using public transportation.

2. Noun + Preposition: In English, nouns are frequently paired with prepositions to form meaningful expressions. When combined with a gerund, they typically indicate the object or recipient of an action. Here are a few examples:

  • Reaction to: His reaction to winning the lottery was unexpected.

  • Dedication to: Her dedication to helping others is commendable.

  • Solution to: What's the solution to reducing pollution?

  • Approach to: Our approach to solving the problem was innovative.

  • Opposition to: There was strong opposition to building the new highway.

3. Adjective + Preposition: Adjectives paired with prepositions convey attitudes, feelings, or states of being. When followed by a gerund, they often express preferences, habits, or reactions. Look at some examples:

  • Addicted to: She's addicted to playing video games.

  • Committed to: They're committed to finishing the project on time.

  • Accustomed to: I'm accustomed to waking up early.

  • Opposed to: He's opposed to raising taxes.

  • Resistant to: Some bacteria are resistant to being treated with antibiotics.

Try incorporating these structures into your daily conversations and written exercises to solidify your understanding. Repetition will help your memory, so use these patterns as much as you can! You can see more examples on my YouTube channel, Bri's Practical English.

If you want to improve your English fluency even further, why not check out my new Adventure Adverb Workbook? This workbook is a helpful guide to new vocabulary and how to make your writing pop off the page!

Many non-native English speakers are reluctant to use -ing after "to", but as you can see from this lesson, that shouldn't be the case! Keep practicing and it will be natural to you in no time.

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