When can we use "an approach to do something" ?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by vvujun, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. vvujun

    vvujun Junior Member

    Changsha, China
    Chinese-Mainland
    When can we use "an approach to do something" ?

    I figure out an approach to obtaining/obtain some useful information.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2012
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    I don't fully understand your question -- it sounds like you want to know when you can use the infinitive form after "approach," but then you get us an infinitive form along with a gerund.

    Perhaps you can clarify your question.
     
  3. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    Wales
    British English
    I don't think you can use "approach" in the sense of "way/means/method" of doing something. Or perhaps I've misunderstood you. You can approach a problem. "How are you going to approach this problem?" - how are you going to go about attempting to solve it? "John tried to solve the problem mathematically but this wasn't the right approach" - John tried to solve the problem in the wrong way.
     
  4. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    In this context, an approach = a way/style/method of considering or handling something[h=3][/h]
     
  5. vvujun

    vvujun Junior Member

    Changsha, China
    Chinese-Mainland
    Sorry for my carelessness.

    an approach = a way/style/method

    I always use the word "approach". But all of them are "to doing something" form after "approach". So I wonder what the difference is between "to doing something" form and the infinitive form after "approach".

    For example:
    1, I presented a novel approach to handle this problem.
    2, I presented a novel approach to handling this problem.

    Is there any difference?
     
  6. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    They are different.
    1. "I presented a novel approach to handle this problem": "to handle" is the full infinitive and here means "in order to handle". So the sentence means "In order to handle this problem, I presented a novel approach." This makes little sense to me and I wonder if it says what you want to say.
    2. "I presented a novel approach to handling this problem": "to" is a preposition and "handling" is a gerund (a noun). The sentence appears to say that you presented a new way of dealing with the problem, but it sounds a bit vague to me: When you say "handling the problem", do you mean "living with the problem" or "solving the problem"?
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  7. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    Wales
    British English
    I'd suggest there's a difference between "approach" (verb and noun) and "way/means/method" etc. "Approach" refers to the way in which you initially consider a problem. "Way" refers to a solution to the problem. "He approached the problem from a logical point of view and soon found a way of solving it."
     

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