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Friday, 11 December 2020

PREPOSITIONS FOLLOWED BY GERUNDS

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A preposition is followed by a noun/noun phrase. It implies it can also be followed by a gerund. I have tried to make a small list of those prepositions which often take gerunds. There is also a quiz.

PREPOSITIONS

about

a. How about going for a walk?
b. How about playing cricket tomorrow?
c. She talked about going to France.

after

a. What did you do after leaving college?
b. After doing the same job for fifteen years, I felt I needed a change.
c. I expected her to be better at Spanish after studying it for five years.
d. I was very tired after being on a bus for 8 hours.

against

a. I warned him against staying at the hotel near the airport.
b. They warned us against taking the responsibility.
c. She has decided against moving to New Orleans.
d. We decided against buying a new car.

at

a. She is good at remembering names.
b. He is good at learning languages.
c. She's hopeless at organizing things.
d. We were quite surprised at hearing the news.

before

a. Before going to bed, I switch off my phone.
b. Before going out, I locked the door.

by

a. They got into the house by breaking a window and climbing in.
b. You can improve your English by reading fairytales.
c. He got himself into financial difficulty by borrowing a lot of money.
d. They made the room look nicer by putting some posters up on the walls.
e. Support this blog by sharing the link with your friends.

for

a. He got into trouble for being late.
b. Don't forget to thank them for helping you.
c. The students apologized for making so much noise.
d. Please forgive me for not telling the truth.
e. This box is only for keeping books.

from

a. The Principal stopped everyone from leaving the class.
b. What prevented you from visiting us?
c. He made his money from investing in real estate.

in

a. Has he succeeded in securing the contract?
b. Are you interested in making music with me?

in spite of

a. They lost the game in spite of playing well.
b. He went to work in spite of feeling ill.

instead of

a. Instead of eating at home, we went to a restaurant.
b. I studied French instead of going out with my friends.

of

a. There are many advantages of having multiple income sources.
b. She has no intention of lending him any money.
c. They have no chance of winning the match.
d. He is thinking of buying a car.
e. I dreamt of starting a new company.
f. His father doesn't approve of smoking.
g. They accused her of stealing a lot of money.
h. The police suspected him of robbing the bank.
i. "Well - it's just that you seem to be labouring under the delusion that I am going to - what is the phrase? - come quietly. I am afraid I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius. I have absolutely no intention of being sent to Azkaban". (From J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27, The Centaur and the Sneak)

on

a. He insisted on driving her to the market.
b. Everyone congratulated them on winning the match.

like

a. I don't feel like going out tonight.

to

a. I look forward to receiving your letter.
b. She got used to spending money unnecessarily.
c. I am used to playing chess at weekends.
d. I prefer working to doing nothing.

with

a. He believed he could get away with cheating on his taxes.
b. People are fed up with listening to the remixes.
c. She is fed up with her husband telling her what to do.

without

a. I think he died without making a will just to annoy his family.
b. They got married without telling their parents.
c. I wish I could go on holiday without having to worry about money.
d. I want to do the homework without being disturbed (/without people disturbing me).
e. She can run a mile without stopping.

NOTE

To AS A MARKER FOR AN INFINITIVE vs. To AS A PREPOSITION

When to is part of the infinitive, we see it in constructions such as to sing, to dance, to do, to go etc. Here, to does not have a separate identity.

However, to is also a preposition in many sentences. And, a preposition is always followed by a noun. Interestingly, a gerund is also a noun. Thus, if a preposition is followed by a verb, it must end in -ing. That's the basic idea.

But how can we recognize the identity of to in a sentence? How can we know whether it's part of the infinitive or just a preposition?

Simple.

Just put it after to and see if the sentence still makes sense. Just replace the rest of the words with it.

For example,
She wants to learn Spanish.
Let's see if to is a preposition in the preceding sentence.

"SHE WANTS TO IT".

Does this make sense? Nope. In fact, it looks and sounds weird and horrible. Why? It's because to is part of the infinitive here. Thus, it can only be followed by a verb in this case. You can use any other verb instead of learn and still have a grammatically perfect sentence, but to cannot be followed by a noun/noun phrase in this scenario.

For example,

a. SHE WANTS TO SING A SONG.
b. SHE WANTS TO DANCE.
c. SHE WANTS TO BECOME A TEACHER.

You get the idea.

However, there are constructions where we can place it after to. That is what we are going to see now.

'LOOK FORWARD TO DO' or 'LOOK FORWARD TO DOING'?

We just learnt the rule. Let's use it here.

"I LOOK FORWARD TO IT".
Is the preceding example a grammatically correct sentence? Yup! It means to cannot be followed by a verb in the construction, look forward to. It also means to is a preposition here. Thus, it can only be followed by a noun/noun phrase. Therefore, if we want to use a verb, it must end in -ing because a gerund behaves like a noun.

So, obviously, look forward to doing is a grammatically perfect construction.

I look forward to seeing you.
I look forward to meeting you.
I look forward to receiving your reply.

Difference between 'USED TO DO' and 'BE USED TO DOING'

Pretty Simple.

a. He used to eat junk food every day. (He ate junk food regularly in the past. However, he doesn't do it any more.)
b. I used to play cricket a lot, but I don't play very often now. (I played cricket regularly in the past.)

c. I am used to living alone. (I have been living alone for some time and I don't find it strange. It's nothing new to me.)
d. I am used to it.
e. She is used to travelling by train. (It's nothing new to her.)

QUIZ

TAKE THE CHALLENGE! 😊
© RB


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