- I look forward to talking to you on Friday afternoon.
As the example above shows, sometimes it is correct to use “to” plus the –ing form of a verb.
Many non-native English speakers are reluctant to use –ing after “to”. Maybe this is because you learnt at school that after “to” a verb should always be in the infinitive.
This is only half true. “To” actually has two uses – EITHER as an infinitive marker (e.g. The Company wishes to purchase the shares), OR as a preposition (e.g. 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, as in these examples:
- There is no obstacle to registering the company.
There is no obstacle to the registration of the company.
- I do not recommend committing yourself to purchasing the shares yet.
I do not recommend committing yourself to the purchase of the shares yet.
- I look forward to hearing from you.
I look forward to your reply.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. The next post looks at these.