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Hi,

I'm confused about when should we use a gerund after 'to', I know that if 'to' is a preposition, then it must either be followed by a gerund or noun, the thing is, I cannot differentiate whether 'to' is a preposition or part of a to-infinitive.

One suggestion was:

"It is possible to check whether 'to' is a preposition or part of a to-infinitive: if you can put a noun or the pronoun 'it' after it, then it is a preposition and must be followed by a gerund:

I am accustomed to it (the cold).
I am accustomed to being cold."

But I don't know whether or not this suggestion holds true, as I came across some other sentences that I can put a 'noun' or 'pronoun' after 'to', but sometimes the author used infinitive.

Examples:
i. Start by committing to (*measure/ measuring) your life based on...
ii. I have agreed to (*give/ giving) you a car.
iii. I give priority to (do/ *doing) it.
iv. The secret to (get/ *getting) everything you want.
v. I object to (work/ *working) overtime.
vi. The kind of person you're committed to (become/ *becoming)

The words with asteriks are according to the original articles. I feel that I can put an 'it' after 'to' for the examples above, sounds a bit weird to me for number vi if I do so. But examples i and ii are given as to-infinitive.

The first example seems inappropriate to convert 'measure your life based on...' to a noun phrase, so I think it's okay, but the second one I think I can put it as 'I have agreed to "your proposal"' where your proposal is 'giving you a car', but the actual sentence was written otherwise.

For examples i and vi, both are 'commit to', can I use 'become' instead of 'becoming' for vi?

Please enlighten me. Thanks a lot.

Troy, as confused as he can be...
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Wouldn't it mean that you are a cold person and you are perfectly happy with it?
@ Troy - yes I can see the problem is quite different for non-native speakers - I can't do anything much in any other language and am full of respect for the learners on this site!

So I'll have another think about this

I think the main point I was reaching for is that it is not the word "to" which makes the difference, so much as the meaning of the whole thing, maybe especialy what you are going on to say after that - so you can't label whether it is a preposition or an infinitive "to" until you've decide what to team with it

i. Start by committing to (*measure/ measuring) your life based on...
ii. I have agreed to (*give/ giving) you a car.
iii. I give priority to (do/ *doing) it.
iv. The secret to (get/ *getting) everything you want.
v. I object to (work/ *working) overtime.
vi. The kind of person you're committed to (become/ *becoming)

my observations on your examples:

i) in fact - I wouldn't think it odd to hear EITHER form in this example -
I think the first verb could be seen as "to commit to" (where the 2nd "to" is part of the verb!) and therefore can be followed by "measuring your life" as well as the one marked as correct here.

The only limit I'd see is that it is poor style to use two ---ing endings so close together, so I would use the "measure" option

ii. ditto - "to agree to" can work as a verb
iii. ditto - "to give priority to"
iv) different - we are not using "secret" as a verb here and ONLY the "getting" option would be acceptable
vi) like the others - most native speakers wouldnt quibble with either option.

so - if you can find other egs we can investigate further!
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Unless you use complete sentences I find it extremely difficult to understand what you are saying.
sorry maj
The word ditto I have used above is to show that the thing I have said about the first example also applies to most of the other examples. Is that the bit you can't follow? This is hard stuff to explain, so I imagine it is very hard to follow.

Did you have some questions on this topic too?
hi suzi,i have the same problem i cant distinguish where to use "to"as a prep. ,for example u said that in the example of secret "to " should be follow by the infinitive ,but why?and when do i know more or less when to use to as prep.

another question ,in this sentence"the only thing that i did to me was confusing me"is "confusing me correct" or i should use confuse,if so,why?because "was'is a verb and it should be follow by a gerund ,no?
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Can someone throw some light on it all? I would say it is very confusing.
I think part of the problem is reading "rules" in books which are "true" in some cases and not in all cases. The best way to check out the validity of the "rules" is by asking for comments on specific examples, as Troy has done...

Of course the more you read and listen to the language in action the more you will spot how things really work.
Sometimes, rules have to make way for conveniences. While everyone is using the same sentence, even though it might be against the rule. Sooner or later it will become a rule by itself.

eg. Long time no seeEmotion: smile. This is a direct translation from Chinese. I don't think it is grammatically correct since ' see ' is a verb
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@ whl - indeed, that is the beaty of language, it belongs to us, not a "rule" book. At the same time, that flexibilty is the challenge when you are learning a language; you NEED some guidance or you would never be able to say a coherent utterance!
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