Preposition + -ing

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Preposition + -ing
in/for about etc. + -ing

A If a preposition (in/for/about etc.) is followed by a verb, the verb ends in -ing.

For example:  >> preposition    verb (-ing)

  • Are you interested in working for us?
  • I'm not very good at learning languages.
  • She must be fed up with studying
  • What are the advantages of having a car?
  • This knife is only for cutting bread.
  • How about playing tennis tomorrow?
  • I bought a new bicycle instead of going away on holiday.
  • Carol went to work in spite of feeling ill.   
You can also say 'interested in somebody (do)ing...', 'fed up with you (do)ing...' etc.:
  • I'm fed up with you telling me what to do.

B. Note the use of the following prepositions + -ing:

before -ing and after -ing:
  • Before going out, I phoned Sarah, (not 'Before to go out')
  • What did you do after leaving school?
You can also say 'Before I went out...' and '...after you left school'.

by -ing (to say how something happens):
  • The burglars got into the house by breaking a window and climbing in.
  • You can improve your English by reading more.
  • She made herself ill by not eating properly.
without -ing:
  • I ran ten kilometres without stopping.
  • They climbed through the window without anybody seeing them. (or without being seen.)
  • She needs to work without people disturbing her. (or without being disturbed.)
  • It's nice to go on holiday without having to worry about money.

C. To -ing

To is often part of the infinitive (to do / to see etc.):
  • We decided to go out.
  • Would you like to play tennis?
But to is also a preposition (like in/for/about/from etc.). For example:
  • We drove from London to Edinburgh.
  • I prefer tea to coffee.
  • Are you looking forward to the weekend?
If a preposition is followed by a verb, the verb ends in -ing (in doing / about going etc.- see Section A). So, when to is a preposition and it is followed by a verb, you must say to -ing:
  • I prefer driving to travelling by train, (not 'to travel')
  • Are you looking forward to seeing Ann again? (not 'looking forward to see').


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