Unit 56. Preposition + -ing

If a verb comes after a preposition (in/at/with/about, etc.), the verb ends in -ing.
Study these examples:

Are you interested in working for us?
I’m not very good at learning languages.
I’m fed up with studying.
The children are excited about going on vacation.
What are the advantages of having a car?
This knife is only for cutting bread.
John went to work in spite of feeling sick. (See Unit 104.)
I bought a new bicycle instead of going away on vacation.

You can use -ing with before and after:

  • Before going out I called Ann. You can also say: “Before I went out I… ”

  • What did you do after leaving school? You can also say: “… after you left school?”

    You can use by -ing to say how something happened:

  • They got into the house by breaking a kitchen window and climbing in.

  • You can improve your English by doing a lot of reading.

    You can use -ing after without:

  • Jim left without finishing his dinner.

  • She ran five miles without stopping.

  • He climbed through the window without anybody seeing him. (orwithout being seen.)

  • She needs to work without people disturbing her. (orwithout being disturbed.)

  • It’s nice to go on vacation without having to worry about money.

    To is a part of the infinitive. For example:

  • They decided to go out. But to is also a preposition. For example:

  • Tom went to Hawaii.

  • He gave the book to Mary.

  • I want to play tennis.

  • I prefer cities to the country.

  • I’m looking forward to the weekend.

    If a preposition is folio wed by a verb, the verb ends in -ing (see section a). So, if to is a preposition and it is followed by a verb, you must say to -ing. For example:

  • I prefer bicycling to driving, (not to drive)

  • I’m looking forward to seeing Sue again, (not to see)

    For be/get used to -ing see Unit 59.

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