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


New Member
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

    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


    New Member
    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.


    New Member
    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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