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It is very common to use a to-infinitive or gerund clause at the beginning of a sentence as for the following:

  1. To drive a motorbike is dangerous.

  2. Driving a motorbike is dangerous.

My question is: Are they semantically the same or different?

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The latter is fine because a gerund can serve as a subject in an English clause.

The former, however, is a bit awkward and unusual but still technically grammatical. An infinitive clause does not normally function as a subject but it's bound to be 'extraposed'. To do this, you move the infinitive clause to the end of the sentence and use the dummy pronoun "it" to fill the empty slot in the subject position.

i. [To drive a motorbike] is dangerous.
ii. __is dangerous [to drive a motorbike].
iii. It is dangerous to drive a motorbike.

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  • You're right. Moving the to-infinitive clause to a final position is better, but to-infinitive clause constructions in an initial position are sometimes seen as examples in grammar reference books. So my original question was about the difference in meaning between the to-infinitive and gerund clause constructions.
    – Mido Mido
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 15:19

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