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One group of verbs that English learners ALWAYS GET WRONG. Here’s how to get them right!

There are many verbs in English which are followed by an infinitive.

The verbs to want and to expect are two examples:

‘I want to help you’  want + infinitive

‘I expect to see you tomorrow’  expect + infinitive

However, there are also a lot of verbs in English where the preposition to is part of the verb.

Where the to is not an infinitive, but it is on the end of the verb.  The most classic verb like this is

look forward to

Verbs which have to to as part of the verb often cause students to make mistakes, because quite confusingly they are followed by the __+ing form:

‘I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.’

[verb + to] + ___ing form

The look strange because they have ‘to’ and ‘ing form’ together.  Many students make mistakes here because they think to is an infinitive and they don’t use the -ing form.

Here are a list of the most useful verbs with the preposition to, and how to use them:

look forward to

[verb + preposition (to)] + __ing form

‘We look forward to hearing from you’

As with all verbs followed by prepositions, it is possible to add a noun or pronoun between the preposition and the +ing form.

[verb + preposition (to)] + noun/pronoun + __ing form

‘We look forward to him coming home from his year abroad.’

All verbs followed by prepositions can also be followed just by nouns.

[verb + preposition (to)] + noun

I’m looking forward to the party

get used to

[verb + preposition (to)] + __ing form

‘Some new employees take some time to get used to working in such a big company.’

As with all verbs followed by prepositions, it is possible to add a noun or pronoun between the preposition and the +ing form.

[verb + preposition (to)] + noun/pronoun + __ing form

‘After a few months I got used to people asking me lots of questions in my presentation.’

All verbs followed by prepositions can also be followed just by nouns.

[verb + preposition (to)] + noun

‘Eventually, you will get used to the cold weather here’

adjust to / adapt to

[verb + preposition (to)] + __ing form

‘John had problems adjusting to waking up early when he started his new job’

All verbs followed by prepositions can also be followed just by nouns.

[verb + preposition (to)] + noun

‘When I first moved to China, it was difficult to adapt to their culture.’

object to

If you object to something, it means that you strongly disagree with something:

[verb + preposition (to)] + __ing form

‘I object to working longer hours without being paid overtime’.

‘I object to eating meat.’

As with all verbs followed by prepositions, it is possible to add a noun or pronoun between the preposition and the +ing form.

[verb + preposition (to)] + noun/pronoun + __ing form

‘I object to my colleagues telling me what to do all the time.’

Like all other verbs followed by prepositions, this can also be followed by a noun:

‘I object to war.’

resort to

Resort to is another really useful verb.  To resort to something means to do something under difficult circumstances because you have no other possible options.  This is usually because you have tried other options which haven’t worked, so you have to use an option which you do not really want to take.  It becomes a lot clearer with examples:

‘With profits at an all time low, the company had to resort to making redundancies.’

Like all other verbs followed by prepositions, this can also be followed by a noun:

‘As the illness was not getting any better, the doctors had to resort to surgery.’

If you would like to have any any further example sentences with these words, feel free to visit my website or comment below! Also if you have any other questions about English I’m happy to answer your emails or I will write a post about it, keep the emails coming!

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David Cox

Advanced English for Professionals

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