Published: 16th November 2019
Here’s how you can avoid common usage errors while writing
Some phrases are always followed by a gerund (a verb ending in –ing and functions as a noun), for example ‘Each of us is committed to serving customers’
A reader from Kumbakonam wants to know whether the phrase ‘committed to providing’ is grammatically correct in the tweet by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee: @MamataOfficial “Today is National Legal Services Day. Our Govt in #Bangla is committed to providing affordable legal services to all sections of society.”
Yes, it is perfectly correct. Some phrases are always followed by a gerund (a verb ending in –ing and functions as a noun). In the example above the phrase ‘committed to’ is followed by the ‘-ing’ form of the verb ‘provide’ and it functions as a noun. It can also be followed by a noun. Here are a few more examples:
Each of us is committed to serving customers.
We are committed to the cause of educating the underprivileged children.
It is incorrect to say “We are committed to serve the poor”. The correct sentence is: “We are committed to serving the poor.”
Here are examples of words and phrases that are followed by the ‘-ing’ form of verbs: avoid, stand, help, mind, prefer, risk, aim at, be used to, apologise for, dreams of, interested in, prefer, succeed in.
The Chief Minister avoided meeting the leaders of opposition parties.
I prefer drinking tea to coffee.
How do we know whether a gerund or an infinitive is used after a verb? Is there any specific rule which can explain this aspect of grammar? Look at these two sentences:
My son suggested watching an English movie but my nephew suggested watching a Tamil movie.
My son suggested to watch an English movie but my nephew suggested to watch a Tamil movie.
Which of the two sentences is grammatically correct? The first one is correct. Why? It is because the verb ‘suggest’ is followed by a gerund. The first one sounds English to native speakers of English but the second one doesn’t.
Let’s consider another set of sentences:
We enjoyed talking to the child.
We enjoyed to talk to the child.
In the above example too, the first sentence sounds natural and is correct whereas the second one doesn’t sound unnatural and, therefore, is incorrect. The verb ‘enjoy’ is always followed by a gerund.
Look at this set of sentences:
We managed reaching the venue in time.
We managed to reach the venue in time.
Here, the second sentence is correct because ‘manage’ is followed by the ‘infinitive’.
Here is a list of some verbs and phrases that are followed by a gerund: advise, admit, consider, imagine, end up, can’t help, can’t stand, have difficulty, have trouble, look forward to, go on, have trouble, waste time, work at.
I look forward to meeting you.
Don’t waste time talking to the idiot.
Here are some verbs and phrases that are followed by an infinitive: agree, appear, arrange, care, decide, demand, expect, fail, forget, hope, learn, manage, mean, offer, plan, prepare, pretend, promise, refuse, remember, seem, wait, want, wish
I wish to congratulate him.
She volunteered to clean the room.