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Lesson Focus — Page 3 of 3

Gerunds after Prepositions

A very useful rule to remember about gerunds and infinitives is that gerunds are the only verbs that can follow prepositions. Infinitives never follow prepositions! Listen to someone reading the following sentences with prepositions followed by gerunds.

Is “to” a preposition or part of an infinitive?

The only difficulty with the lovely rule about prepositions and gerunds is that “to” can be either a preposition or part of an infinitive. You have to be careful with that one! Listen to someone reading the following sentences with “to”.

A good way to decide if “to” is a preposition or part of an infinitive is to try putting a noun after it. If it is possible to put a noun after the “to,” then the “to” is a preposition. For example, to decide if a gerund or an infinitive should come after the following phrase

I look forward to ...

try putting a noun, such as “school,” after the “to”:

I look forward to school.

It works! Therefore, the “to” must be a preposition, and any verb that follows it must be a gerund.

I look forward to going to school.