EN: obligation to do / of doing

AlexWK

Member
French
Bonjour,

Once again, I got confused about the difference between 'to+ infinitive' and 'of + gerund'. It relates to the word 'obligation'. I often read 'an obligation to do something' or 'the obligation of doing something' and I don't know which use depending on the context.

Here are two examples stemming from a same text:
1) Infinitive form: 'This article gives rise to a constitutional obligation to transpose EU directives'
translated as 'Cet article entraîne une obligation constitutionnelle de transposer les directives de l' UE'

2) Gerund form: 'It is still uncertain whether this approach of regarding the EU obligation of implementing a directive as a national requirement is relevant'
translated as 'It est toujours incertain de savoir si cette approche consistant à regarder l'obligation communautaire de mettre en oeuvre une directive comme une exigence nationale est pertinent'.

Why do we have, on the one hand, 'an obligation to transpose' and, on the other hand, 'an obligation of transposing'?
Are those construction interchangeable? Is there any difference in meaning between 'an obligation to do something' and 'an obligation of doing something'?

Thank you in advance,

Alexwk
 
  • rkf

    Member
    English
    It's almost always "obligation to do". That would work even in sentence 2, but the form "obligation of -ing" usually doesn't work. I think it's ok in sentence 2 because it's "the obligation of" whereas "an obligation" can't have "of".
     

    AlexWK

    Member
    French
    Thank you for your answer. Do you know whether there is a rule to distinguish between 'of doing something' and 'to do something' after nouns such as 'the importance', 'the power', 'the obligation', 'the capacity', 'the will', 'the necessity'? Or do I have to learn the formulation by heart?

    Thanks,

    Alexwk
     

    rkf

    Member
    English
    power, obligation, capacity, will are properties of the person doing it. So you can say "she has the power/obligation/capacity to do something".

    importance is a property of the thing being done. You can't say "she has the importance...". So importance goes with "of doing something".
     

    AlexWK

    Member
    French
    Thank you for that answer.

    However, I have a similar question as to the phrase 'the objective of doing something'.

    I think that we can say 'She has the objective to do something' meaning: elle a l'objective de faire quelque chose. Yet, it seems that we should write 'the objective of doing something' and not 'the objective to do something'. Am I wrong?

    For example: 'elle a l'objectif de reussir ses examens' (though it would certainly be better to say 'elle a comme objectif de reussir ses examens').
    Is 'she has the objective to pass her tests' correct? Then, can I say 'the objective to pass exams is...'?

    Thanks
     

    rkf

    Member
    English
    I think that we can say 'She has the objective to do something' meaning: elle a l'objective de faire quelque chose.
    We would actually say "Her objective is to do something".

    For example: 'elle a l'objectif de reussir ses examens' (though it would certainly be better to say 'elle a comme objectif de reussir ses examens').
    Is 'she has the objective to pass her tests' correct? Then, can I say 'the objective to pass exams is...'?
    "Her objective is to pass her tests". Here the objective belongs to the person.
    "The objective of passing exams is..." because here the objective belongs to "passing exams"
     
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