To or ing in the subject


Hi all! Merry Xmas! : )

I posted a similar question before, though I'm still unsure. Hope you don't mind me asking this again.

I learnt that the verb decides whether it needs To infinitive or Gerund for its object (eg: want -> to go), but when it comes to a subject, is there anything that determines which is suitable?


Are the following sentences exchangeable without any nuance differentiation ?

To know oneself is difficult.
Knowing oneself is difficult.

To live without water is impossible.
Living without water is impossible.

It is impossible to live without water.
It is impossible living without water.
Last edited:
  • Dennis Moore

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    I always use the -ing form at the beginning of a sentence and the to-inf if the sentence begins with "it's", but just because it sounds better to me. I'd say they're pretty much interchangeable, but let's wait for the native speakers to confirm this.

    Living without water is impossible vs It's impossible to live without water.