it comes 'to' singing / wrong 'to' cripple [To - Preposition or Infinitive?]

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Thundra

New Member
Arabic
Hello everyone,

Please if this subject has already been brought up for discussion and has already been answered, feel free to delete this topic and I apologize in advance for the inconvenience.

Let me now cut straight to the chase. I'm really having a hard time making a distinction between the two grammatical functions of "To". Let me be more specific:

1-When it comes to singing, I'm the best.

2-It would be wrong to cripple the quest to discovering new constellations.

I just came up with those examples to show you where exactly lies my confusion.

If you take the first example: I have learned by heart that after "when it comes" I should use the verb which follows "to" in the ing form, that's why I wrote "to singing" and not "to sing".

The second example is a little tougher: I put "to discovering" but I could have easily written "to discover" instead and the second example would have been like this:

It would be wrong to cripple the quest to discover new constellations.

So my question is this: When can we be sure that the "to" that we're using is a preposition and when the verb following that very "to" must be put in ing form?

Thank you so much.
 
Last edited:
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    1-When it comes to singing, I'm the best. Here, singing, is a gerund not a verb. A gerund is a verb participle acting as a noun.
    e.g. When it comes to beer, I can drink with the best!"
    "When it comes to football, no one beats Manchester United!"
    "When it comes to" is a set phrase and is always followed by a noun, a gerund or noun phrase.

    2-It would be wrong to cripple the quest to discovering new constellations.:cross: It has to be 'discover'. This is the infinitive of the verb.

    You may wish to have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerund#Gerunds_in_English.
     

    Thundra

    New Member
    Arabic
    Thank you Paul for your thorough clarification and your quick reply. It's become very clear now and I owe it to you. Once again sorry, English is my third language and I'm only 13.

    Again thank you.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    English is my third language and I'm only 13.
    From what I see, there's nothing much wrong with your English :thumbsup: and I've worked out that by the time you are 39, you should be able to speak 9 languages! :D
     

    Thundra

    New Member
    Arabic
    haha Thanks for the kind words, they are pretty much appreciated. I don't know if I'll ever be able to speak nine languages but I can promise you one thing, I'll do my best and everything in my power to make it happen. :)
     
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