Engligh Grammar: How to use "to" before an "-ing" verb


Hi there. My name is Emma, and in today's video, we are going to talk about

something many students wonder about, and that is when we use "to" and "ing" together.


Okay, so for example... Yeah: "What???" Many students, when they see this, it "poof" their minds;

they have no idea: What is this? It goes against all the rules they've learned. So I'm going

to explain to you when this happens, and how we can use it. So, let's look at some examples.

This is the most common example of this you will see:

"I look forward to meeting you."

Notice we have our verb: "look forward", and then we have this little guy, here, "to",

and then we also have "ing". Okay?

So, in this case, it's very strange. We're going

to learn about why this is in a moment, but before we do that, I want to tell you some

of the basic rules so you can understand, first off: What am I talking about with "ing",

and what am I talking about with "to"?

So let's look at the basic rules. This is all about when you have two verbs in a sentence.

For example: "thank" is the first verb, and "help" is the second verb. Okay?

What you will notice in English, the first rule is:

Any time you have a preposition between the first verb and the second,

you're going to use "ing". A preposition is a word like "for",

"to", "about", "toward", "up", "down", "in", "out", all of these words that kind of tell

us where something is located, these are called "prepositions". So, whenever you see a preposition

after a verb, this next verb is going to end in "ing".

So our example here: "I thank you for helping me."

Similarly, we have our verb: "interested", "I'm interested", so this is the verb. And

we have a second verb: "learn". So, if we have a preposition after the first verb:

"I'm interested in", you're going to see that the second verb is going to end in "ing".

"I'm interested in learning English."

So we don't say: "I'm interested in to learn English."

Similarly, we don't say: "I thank you to help me."

If you have a preposition like "for",

"in", "out", you are going to have the second verb with "ing".

Okay, some verbs... These are verbs without prepositions.

If we have two verbs and there's

no preposition between them, they will be either verb with a second verb ending in "ing",

or a verb plus the second verb beginning in "to".

So let's look at some examples so you understand what I'm talking about.

Okay, I have here the verb "enjoy". Here's my first verb.

Think of a second verb we can use. Let's say "eat".

With the verb "enjoy", the verb that follows is always going to end

in "ing". "I enjoy eating.",

"I enjoy reading.", "I enjoy listening to music.",

"I enjoy shopping."

Okay? So, in this case, all... The second verb will always end in "ing".

We have another example, here: "I started".

"I started", let's think of a verb, any verb. "Fish".

"I started fishing." So, again, this is the first verb, here's the second verb,

second verb ends in "ing". I en-... Or: "I started drinking.",

"I started eating my dinner." Okay?

Then we also have some verbs that you will see... Here's the first verb: "decided".

The second verb does not end in "ing". "I decided to", what's a verb we can use here?


"I decided to watch TV." Okay?

"I want to

eat ice cream."

So, in this case, we have two verbs-so verb one, verb two; verb one, verb two

-the second verb begins with the word "to".

Now, other teachers on engVid have already covered this information.

What you will notice is that some verbs are always like this, some verbs are always like this,

and some verbs do both.

It's pretty much you have to memorize: When is it "ing"...? Sorry. "ing", and when

is it "to"? What we're really interested in today is this, this really confusing thing:

Why is it "ing" and "to"? All right?

So let's look at some more examples of this, and I

will tell you the rule on when we use "ing" and "to" together.

Okay, so I've explained to you the three rules we use when we have two verbs together. Okay?

Sometimes you have a verb followed by "ing", sometimes you have a verb followed by "to",

and in the case of prepositions, you have a verb followed by "ing". So I've taught you

these three rules. Now we're going to look at when we have both "ing" and "to" together.

Okay? So, "ing" and "to" together.

So in this case, we have two verbs. The first verb is: "I look forward to".

The second verb is: "meeting". Okay? So we have two verbs.

In this case, "to" is acting as a preposition.

Okay? So just like what we said before with "up", "down", "in", "out",

in this case, "to" is a preposition. This is actually a phrasal verb.

It's actually almost like it's the same

verb. "To" is a part of "look forward". You can't have: "I look forward meeting". No.

"To" is a part of the verb. So, in this case because it's a phrasal verb and "to" is a

preposition, "meeting" is going to have "ing".

Another way to look at this is if you look at this next example:

"I look forward to ice cream."

In this case, we only have one verb. We have "look forward to", this is the verb,

"ice cream". We don't have a second verb; instead, we have a noun.

This is fine. This is the test you can do. If "to" can be followed only by a noun,

then we know that it's actually

a part of the verb. Okay?

So: "I look forward to ice cream." I can do this with "to", but

I can't say: "I hope to ice cream." In this case, this does not work; "to" is separate,

so we... It's separate from "hope", so we could say instead: "I hope to eat",

you'd need to add a verb, here. "I need to eat ice cream."

So in this case, "to" is a part of it, it's a preposition;

in this case, when we have two verbs, "to" is separating them.

So they're two different cases.

Let's look at some more examples.

"You will get used to living here."

We have the verb "get used to",

it's considered like one chunk: "get used to". It's a phrasal verb. And then

we have our second verb.

"You will get used to living here." We have "to" and we also

have "ing". In this case, "to" is a preposition, and that's why it is followed by a verb with

"ing". "Get used to" means to become accustomed to. Okay? So, for example, some of my students

have come to Canada, and at first the cold is very terrible in the wintertime, they hate

the cold, but they get used to it, and then the cold is no problem; they get accustomed

to it. Again, just like with this, we could change this to a noun. I could say:

"You will get used to winter.",

"You will get used to English."

Or I can have a verb. Both are possible,

so we know that this is a chunk.

We have another example: Judge Judy.

"Judge Judy objects to lying."

"Objects" means she

gets angry, she does not approve; she disapproves of lying.

So, again, we have "to"

and we have "ing" together.

The verb is "objects to", it's one unit. And "lying" is our second verb.


A third example: "I resorted to stealing." Okay?

"I resorted to stealing."

or "I confessed to stealing."

If you resort to something, it means although you didn't really want to

do it, you had to do it. So, for example, imagine I have a big test and I know I'm going

to fail, so I decide to cheat. I resorted to cheating.

Usually we resort to doing something bad.

So: "I resorted to stealing." Again, we have "to", and we have "ing".

The reason we have both is "resorted" and "to" are a unit;

they go together. They always go together,

so we can't say: "I resort stealing", it's always: "I resorted to stealing."

Same with the word "confess". If you confess to something, it means you tell someone what you did wrong.

Okay, so: "I confessed to stealing." So, again, just like "resorted to",

"confessed to", it's

one unit. Okay? So these words go together. "To", in this case, is a proposition,

"confess to" is a phrasal verb, so afterwards, "stealing" is going to end in "ing".

Okay, our final example:

"I'm opposed to living in Antarctica."

This means: "I'm against living in Antarctica."

I don't know why I'm against it. I mean, I guess I hate the cold, although

I love penguins. I'm going to say:

"I'm opposed to living in Antarctica."

Now, "I'm opposed to",

it's a unit; it goes together. It's a phrasal verb. So, this means that it's a verb

that always has "to" as a preposition.

So, because "to" is a preposition, the verb afterwards

is going to have "ing".

So: "I'm opposed to living in Antarctica.",

"I'm opposed to drinking and driving.",

"I'm opposed to doing drugs." Okay?

So, again, I could even get rid of this

and use a noun, I could say: "I'm opposed to drugs.",

"I'm opposed to doing drugs."

All right, so again, key here: Sometimes we have "to" and "ing" together between a verb.

We do this when we have "to" as a phrasal verb, and "to" is acting as a preposition.

All right, so I hope you come visit our website at www.engvid.com.

There, you can do a quiz to make sure that you understand this video, and that you

have mastered the concepts in it.

You'll also see a lot more examples of when we use "to" and "ing".

So until next time, thank you for watching and take care.