Verb plus Preposition‏‎ in English Grammar

When we use a preposition, we can follow it with the gerund:

{verb phrase} + {preposition} + {gerund}
He coughed before beginning to speak.
They succeeded in breaking the door down.

With most prepositions this is no problem. However, when we use the preposition to, students often confuse it with the to + infinitive structure.

I object to work.
I object to work at night.

In the first example, work is a noun and to a preposition; in the second example, work is a verb.

If you do not know whether to is with the infinitive or gerund, try putting a noun after it:

I object to bananas.

This is acceptable so to is a preposition and must be followed by the gerund.

I object to working at night.

In the following case, to is not a preposition so we do not follow it with the gerund:

I expect to…
* I expect to bananas.
I expect to eat bananas for breakfast.

Posted in Parts of Speech.

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