Why is “-ing” allowed after “to”?

We’ve all been there, our teachers in primary school told us we mustn’t add any participle to the verb if it follows after “to”. For example “to do”, “to run”, “to know”. And so we teach our children the same rule. However, there’s more to the rule than we can remember.

For example,

Jasmine is used to ________ in the room all by herself.
(a) sleep (c) slept
(b) sleeps (d) sleeping (                    )

(Source: P6 Past Year Examination Paper)

The correct answer is (d) sleeping, and not (a) sleep.

This is how I usually explain to my students:

  1. Jasmine is used to “something”. This “something” has to be a Noun, because Nouns are people, places and things. So this “thing” that Jasmine is used to is “sleeping in the room all by herself”.
  2. But why must we add “-ing”? Because the rule is that in order to use a verb (sleep) as a noun, we’ll need to add “-ing” to the verb. By adding “-ing” to the verb, we can therefore use it as a gerund (which is a noun made from a verb by adding “-ing.”).

Now try this,

From getting the right angles to ________ the right filters, photography is a difficult art to master.
(a) choose (c) chose
(b) chooses (d) choosing (                    )

Answer: (d) choosing

  1. From “something” to “something”, what are the two “things” that makes photography difficult to master? 1) Getting the right angles and 2) Choosing the right filters.
  2. Why is “-ing” necessary? Because the rule is that in order to use a verb (choose) as a noun, we’ll need to add “-ing” to the verb. By adding “-ing” to the verb, we can therefore use it as a gerund.

This kind of question usually appears only for the P6 papers, however, you can also spot them occasionally in P5 Synthesis and Transformation.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s