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Welcome to www.engvid.com.
I'm Adam.
Today's lesson is a bit of a grammar lesson; a specific point I'm going to look at.
And this is "to" followed by an "ing" word or an "ing" verb, it looks like.
And for some people this is very confusing because they automatically see "to", and they
think it should be followed by a verb.
Now, the one thing that a lot of people forget is that "to" can be a preposition, and that
is what you're going to be looking at when you're looking at "to" with an "ing".
But there are also some things you have to remember.
You have to keep in mind that there are certain collocations.
A "collocation" is basically a set of words-a pair, or three, or four words-that just generally
go together to have a particular meaning.
So, for example: "look forward to" - these three words generally go together, and they're
going to be followed by an "ing".
"I look forward to meeting you."
Now, where people get confused is they see a verb, and then they see the "to", and they're
automatically thinking of another verb.
But, here, this "to" is not part of the infinitive.
There's two uses for "to": Preposition, and the infinitive "to".
Part of the infinitive verb.
What you have to remember is that preposition.
"Admit to"...
"The student admitted to cheating on the test."
So: "Admitted to", what?
Remember: The preposition needs an object, and that's what you're going to be answering
when you answer the question: "What?"
And objects in this particular case are going to be nouns or they're going to be gerunds.
They can also be active participle adjectives, but I'll talk about that in a second.
"Admit to cheating", "Object to being filmed", for example.
So, somebody...
I'm a politician and I see a camera coming, and I say: "No, sorry.
I object to being filmed.
You can ask me questions, but don't film me", basically.
"Get around to" means you will do something.
So: "I'll get around to handing in the proposal later today."
So, basically what you have to do is just remember these collocations.
Where it gets a little bit trickier is when you have adjectives.
But before that, "prefer" I forgot to mention.
-"I prefer jogging to swimming."
-"Do you like jogging?"
-"Well, I prefer it to swimming."
So it doesn't have to be an "ing"; it can be "it" mentioned before, and then "to", "ing".
But this is a comparative "to", preposition.
And, again: "to", what?
"To" the noun or gerund.
So, this is a gerund.
It's not a verb, and that's why you can...
It can follow "to".
Now, let's look at a little...
Something a little bit trickier, and I'll show you a general rule on how you can recognize
whether to use "to" as a preposition or a verb.
Now we're going to look at something a little bit different.
We're going to look at adjective participles.
Now, "participles" are basically verbs that are used as adjectives.
They can be, like, "ed" or irregular verb, and they can be "ing" verbs; passive and active
- that's, you know, a different lesson on participles.
But you have to also pay attention to how they're being used in the sentence.
Let's look at an example: "The company is committed to providing top-quality customer
So, here, we have a verb: "commit", and we have: "is committed to".
But, here, we're not actually looking at it as a passive verb; we're looking at it as
more like an adjective.
"The company is committed", right?
So, this is telling you about the company.
It's like a subject complement; it's acting like an adjective.
And, here, this is a complement.
So, basically what does this mean?
You have to look and see: What is your independent clause first?
And you should know independent clauses by now; and if you don't, I have a video on that
as well.
So, here: "The company is committed".
This is a complete sentence: "The company is committed."
To what?
I don't know yet.
But it's a complete sentence because I have my subject, I have my verb, and technically
the idea is there; they're committed, but it's not complete.
So I want to add a complement.
When I'm adding a complement, then I'm adding: "to providing".
Committed to what?
"...providing top-quality customer care".
So, this is...
I'm adding a prepositional phrase as a complement to my independent clause.
I don't need it in terms of grammar; I need it in terms of idea - to have a complete idea.
But the main thing you need to remember is that these two often go together.
When you're using "committed" as an adjective, like a participle, you're going to use: "committed
"Devoted to", "obliged to".
These are things that need to be completed, but it's not an object.
"I am not used to being interviewed."
Now, here: "I am not used" - this is not a complete idea and it's not a complete sentence
because of the "used".
Although, technically, this is still an adjective participle; it's being used like an adjective.
But: "used to" and "accustomed to", even though they're not really complete, we use these
as collocations, and they're always going to be...
Need to be completed.
To what?
"To being".
"Used to being", "used to doing".
Now, keep in mind this is...
We're talking about habit; not "used to", like something I did in the past that I don't
do now.
It's "used to" as in habit; something you've become comfortable with.
"Accustomed to" basically means the same...
The same as "used to".
Habit; used to.
"In some cultures, people are accustomed", to what? "...taking their shoes off".
So, here, "being" is the object to "to"; "taking" is the object to "to" because I need to complete
the meaning of the preposition.
Prepositions take objects.
"The neighbourhood was divided into"...
Now, I gave you another example with "into" just to make sure to drive home the idea that
these are prepositions; they're not infinitive particles, basically.
"The neighbourhood was divided into warring factions."
Now, everybody knows war.
But, here, "warring" is now an adjective.
It's a participle adjective; an active participle adjective.
And this is the noun. "into" still needs an object; there's the object.
There's the adjective, and there's the noun as the preposition.
Now, just to...
Again, I just want to make sure that it's clear that we're using prepositions.
"Interested" - although technically it is a verb, it is being used as an adjective.
"Concerned" is a verb being used as an adjective.
They take different prepositions, but the idea is all the same.
"I'm interested in doing something.", "I'm concerned about giving away all my secrets.",
On the other hand: "I need"...
This is a complete sentence, but "need" is a transitive verb - means it must take an object.
"I need something."
In this case, "to do", I use the infinitive verb because infinitive verbs can act as objects
to a transitive verb.
Prepositional phrases are generally used as complements; not objects.
They're used as complements to an independent clause.
Now, all of this, of course, depends on your understanding of: "What is an independent
And what is a phrase?
And what is a complement?"
Make sure you understand all of these, because then this will all become much easier.
But the point here: You can follow "to" with an "ing"; just remember that the "ing" is
not a verb.
It is a gerund or it is a...
In some cases, it can be an adjective.
That's the key to remember here.
If you have any questions about this, please go to www.engvid.com and ask me in the comment
There's a quiz there that you can take and make sure you understand all the ideas, here,
and make sure you know how to use "to" with an "ing".
And, of course, if you like the video, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and come back
for more different varying degrees of grammar lessons for all English-learning levels.
So, I'll see you again then.
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Learn English Grammar: When to use an ‘-ING’ word after ‘TO’

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Summer published on July 31, 2020
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