approach to <destroying / the destruction of> everything

shab_2008

New Member
Persian
Hi there,
As I know, if "To" functions as a preposition, the thing that follows it must be a noun. For example, " Approach to sth", " Several guides to sth", etc.
It means that we can have a noun-form of a verb ( gerund or unreal noun) in such situations.
In this regard, for some verbs we can find to types of noun: 1) a real noun, 2) ing+ verb known as gerunds. For example, " Developing and Development", " Destroying and Destruction", etc. As I found out, the strong preference is always to use a real noun rather than the gerund. For instance, we cannot say, " A vicious approach to destroying every thing", and thus it has to be said like this, , " A vicious approach to the destruction of every thing". The confusion arising here is when we are using other prepositions,e.g. "of ", " from ", etc. I frequently see that natives use the gerund form of a verb rather than the real noun ( e.g. Destroying rather than Destruction) because the " verb+ ing " states that the emphasis is on action, but " real-noun form" states that the emphasis is on the result achieved through the action. Why this happens? If this rule is OK, then why this is not applicable to " preposition To" ?

Thank you
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    There's nothing in principle wrong with "a vicious approach to destroying every thing" (leaving aside the fact that the example is a bit odd). Gerunds are substantives, not verbs, and we would (correctly) interpret "to" as being a preposition in this case.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hi, Shab.

    I've never seen or heard of any rule that forbids the use of a preposition like "to" before a gerund. As far as I'm concerned, you can say "a vicious approach to destroying everything." However, I probably read phrases like "a vicious approach to the destruction of everything" more often than some equivalent phrase that uses a gerund.

    I frequently see that natives use the gerund form of a verb rather than the real noun ( e.g. Destroying rather than Destruction) because the " verb+ ing " states that the emphasis is on action, but " real-noun form" states that the emphasis is on the result achieved through the action. Why this happens?
    I agree with the idea that gerunds are often used to emphasize ongoing action rather than the result of that action.

    If I read the phrase "an approach to the destruction of X", I'd assume that the writer was more interested in the completed action (destruction) than the process of destroying something.

    Cross-posted with Newt.
     

    milanooco

    New Member
    English - Ireland
    There's nothing in principle wrong with "a vicious approach to destroying every thing" (leaving aside the fact that the example is a bit odd). Gerunds are substantives, not verbs, and we would (correctly) interpret "to" as being a preposition in this case.
    I agree with you.
     
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