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When is it correct to use “to” plus – ing form of a verb?

Hello everyone,


I am currently practicing my writing in english. In order to imporve it, I am wrting essays.


I am struggling when I have to use "to" plus – ing form of a verb. For example,

There is no obstacle to register the company.
RIGHT (-ing form)
There is no obstacle to registering the company.

I do not recommend committing yourself to purchase the shares yet.
RIGHT (-ing form)
I do not recommend committing yourself to purchasing the shares yet.


It would be helful if someone can help me to understand better this grammar issue.


Thanks in advance for your attention.

10 de ene de 2015 18:12
Comments · 3

There are three ways of connecting two verbs together.

1. A modal verb followed by a bare infinitive:

I must go

I can go

2. A verb followed by to + infinitive:

I want to go

I need to go

3. A verb followed by a gerund:

I enjoy going

I recommend going


As you can see,  verb + to + is not an option.


The examples you give above are not verb+verb combinations, but phrases involving preposition use.


Prepositions - at, from, with, by - are always followed by a either noun or a gerund, ( the noun form of a verb. The word 'to' does not belong to the verb which follows it, but rather to the phrase which precedes it. 


There is no obstacle to [the registration of the company] =  obstacle to + noun phrase

There is no obstacle to [registering] [the company]  = obstacle to + gerund + noun phrase


Likewise, the phrase 'to commit oneself to' needs to be followed either by a noun ( 'the purchase of shares) or a gerund ( 'purchasing shares').


Other very common phrases with 'to' which work in this way are 'look forward to' and 'be used to'


e.g.  I'm looking forward to the party.  (noun)

       I'm looking forward to seeing you (gerund).






10 de Enero de 2015

"To" + verb + "-ing" is not a specific verb form. What you have here are, on the one hand, phrases containing the preposition "to" ("There is no obstacle to...", "...committing yourself to..."), and, on the other hand, the gerund of the verb used in a nominal sense (i.e. used as a noun). The "to" and the "-ing" form of the verb just happen to come together.

This can be illustrated by using these in different sentences:

"There is no obstacle to the expansion of the company."

"Registering the company is a straightforward task."

"I do not recommend committing yourself to such a dangerous undertaking."

"Purchasing the shares would be sheer folly."

10 de Enero de 2015

Thank you very much.

10 de Enero de 2015
Language Skills
Dutch, English, Spanish
Learning Language
Dutch, English