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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 4) 
Hi Troy,

you have asked an excellent question, which manny native English speakers get wrong (as can be observed by the responses you have received so far!). The answer to almost all of your examples is the same: the "to" after the verb is the preposition to the verb, therefore it must be followed by a gerund or gerund phrase.

To commit to

To agree to

To give priority to

To object to

These are all verbs constructions that require "to" as a preposition after them, followed by a noun or a noun construction, such as a gerund or gerund phrase.

I hope this is clearer now - both to you and to the other contributors.

Best wishes.
That`s what we refer as 'prepositional verbs`.
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