distinguish "to-infinitive phrase" and "gerund"


How to distinguish "to-infinitive phrase" and "gerund", such as:


(a) looking forward to meeting you

(b) with a view to enhancing the system


In the above examples, the "-ing" forms following "to" imply they are not "to-infinitive phrase", is it gerund instead? Can anyone give more detail explanation to help distinguishment of these two?

asked Sep 13 '11 at 03:31 CF LOK New member

3 answers


certain verbs always take nouns after them, learning of them can help.




Oxford Collocation Dictionary for student of English seccond edition.

link comment answered Sep 13 '11 at 09:44 Rahul Gupta Expert

CF Lok, 


Rahul is correct.  It's important to realise that these '-ing' words are nouns, not verbs.  The following sentences are functionally equivalent:


I look forward to our conversation.


I look forward to talking with you.

link answered Sep 14 '11 at 09:57 Kimberly Expert

Hi Kimberly, thank you so much. So the "talking" is a gerund, right? And what is the function of "to" there? It does not function as the leading word of "to-infinitive", then what is its function? Sorry that English is a second language to me, sometimes my question may be viewed as not making sense to natives. CF LOKSep 14 '11 at 11:07

Yes, 'talking' is the gerund. 'To' here does not function at the leading 'to' of an infinitive because the 'talking' is not a verb, but a noun. 'To' in this case works as a dependent preposition of the word 'forward'. KimberlySep 14 '11 at 11:14

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I don't do meta-language.

link answered Sep 13 '11 at 04:57 Mark Heyne Contributor

What do you mean? CF LOKSep 13 '11 at 12:30

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