gerund or infinitive


Is there any rule to put  a gerund after the preposition "to".for example,He objects to coming here.

asked Jun 04 '12 at 08:11 dilawar khan New member

1 answer


Infinitives are more often used to answer WHY-questions.  Look at the following conversation:

Louise:  I stopped.

Harry:  Why?

Louise:  I stopped to smoke.

The phrase in order to is often used in this situation.  Therefore, Louise could have said, “I stopped in order to smoke.”  In order to is also used to answer why-questions.  In order to is NEVER used with gerunds


I  stopped in order to smoke.


Gerunds are usually not used to answer why-questions.  Gerunds are nouns.  Gerunds directly receive actions (when in the object position) just like other nouns. 


I stopped the car.

I stopped the thief

I stopped smoking.


Infinitives in the subject position are often used for general or habitual actions.  Here are some examples:

To live a happy life is everyone’s deepest desire.
To err is human, to forgive, divine.  (Shakespeare)
To fix a car requires a lot more than a screwdriver.


NOTE: All of these sentences can use gerunds (living a happy life is everyone’s deepest desire).    

When the action happened in the past, a gerund is usually used.


PAST ACTION Monika has studied German.
GERUND REFERRING TO PAST ACTION Studying German was easy for her.


This action happened in the past.  Therefore, use a gerund.  Using an infinitive to refer to a past action is not as common and natural as using a gerund.  

link comment answered Jun 05 '12 at 13:20 sanjay Expert

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