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Dear Teachers,

How to decide whether a "to" is prepostion or a part of an infinitive?.

I need detailed explanation.

MSN.
Full Member107
I think if it's followed by a bare infinitive it's "part of the infinitive" but I suggest that you write the sentence you doubt and we will try to help you.
Regular Member695
A very silly answer: you have to check whether the word following "to" is a verb. Emotion: tongue tied
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Hello

The to-infinitive 'to do' is not a prepositional phrase like 'to school'. But the 'to' in 'to do' is a preposition just like 'to' in 'to school' is a preposition.

The basic sense of 'to X' is 'in the direction toward X'. So 'to school' is 'towards school'. Even in the case of to-infinitives, 'to do' is, in its typical sense, 'toward the action do'. This will be understood by the following example;

He came to help his friend = He came to/for the help of his friend.

paco
Senior Member4,095
Retired Moderator: A moderator who has retired.
My two cents.

Keep in mind that if "to" is followed by "the", "a", "an" (probably the most common words which follow "to"), it is certainly not part of an infinitive.

CJ
Veteran Member51,768
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As a preposition, to followed by a bare infinitive is used to show purpose:

He came from Russia to attend the funeral.
I'm going home to see my pets.
Full Member357
Anonymous:
Hello,

also got that problem with the the "to" wether it's a preposition or part of the infinitive.

What I need is something like a rule when forming sentences...

e.g.

I got used to moving in a foreign society.

Why is that correct?

All right, because the "to" is a preposition, but why? How do you know that?

And why however is the "to" in the following sentence not a preposion, so that the ing form not applies?

I used to spend a fortune on my car

Thank you in advance!!

Max
I can't explain in terms of grammar, it's a rule I had to learn by heart:

You are/get used to doing something, but you used to do something. You can say "I'm used to my PC, I can't work on yours", but you can't say "I used to my PC". Whenever you can use (sorry!) a noun or pronoun after "to", then it's a preposition, so if you need a verb, it'll be in the -ing form. When you can't, it's not a preposition, then you need the infinitive.
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Retired Moderator: A moderator who has retired.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
Hi pieanne, this early thread is fitting for my question and so I'm going to get on with it.

you said:

I can't explain in terms of grammar, it's a rule I had to learn by heart:You are/get used to doing something, but you used to do something. You can say "I'm used to my PC, I can't work on yours", but you can't say "I used to my PC". Whenever you can use (sorry!) a noun or pronoun after "to", then it's a preposition, so if you need a verb, it'll be in the -ing form. When you can't, it's not a preposition, then you need the infinitive.

You can say, e.g. I am used to using your PC or I am accustomed to using your PC or I am acquainted with using your PC where each of them consists of a 'verb+noun+prep' . If it is true that after a ' verb + noun+prep' collocation only a gerund must be used, could it be an explanation for the question and the rule that you say you know by heart? Thanks.

Full Member180
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