Until right now, I was very sure that the formulation (we are) open to discuss is kind of idiomatic. Now I read a text that (as I have been told) has been checked by a native speaker of English and stumbled over this:

We are open to discussing the opportunities with you.

I would have written

We are open to discuss the opportunities with you.


Before I am making a fool out of myself by wrongly correcting a native speaker: Those both seem grammatically fine to me, but I do not think the first version is normally used. Could you help me find out, if I am right?

2 Answers 2


The to in the idiom open to is a preposition, not an ‘infinitive marker’, so it requires a nominal entity as object of the preposition:

My door is open to [anyone who needs to speak with me].
We are open to [whatever proposal you wish to put forward].
The floor is now open to [discussion of this motion].

When you want to use a subordinate clause—a verb with its arguments—as the object, this idiom requires a gerund clause

We are open to [discussing the opportunities with you].

Expressions which employ the preposition to to head NP complements will usually not license infinitive complement clauses, because this creates an awkward ambiguity in the use of to.


This is an idiom that is apparently regional; "open to discuss" has the sound of idiomatic usage to me, but I've never heard it in the United States.

Note that in the case of "to discussing", to is a preposition and discussing is a gerund (the noun form of the verb "to discuss"), forming an adverb prepositional phrase describing in what way we're open. In the second case, "to discuss" is the infinitive form, and it is used as an adverb infinitive phrase. Both are grammatically correct, and I think that any differences in usage are regional rather than having any nuance of meaning.

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