I have a problem in comparing these two sentences.

  1. DDP challenges protecting inventor's ideas.

  2. DDP challenges to protect inventor's ideas.

Translation in my book says (1) means DDP opposes protecting of ideas, but (2) means DDP strives to protects.

Firstly, I don't know this translation is right or not.

Secondly, if it is right, why does this difference occur? just from the difference in using ~ing or to behind the verb 'challenge'?

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    What is the source of these sentences? They look like newspaper headlines, which makes it more complicated. – stangdon Feb 2 '18 at 17:38
  • @stangdon It's just from a problem in the test performed in my region. And it is one of the choices that problem gives. So.. the full problem is 'Q. Which is correct according to the talk? (c) DDP challenges protecting inventor's ideas.' – Lee TY Feb 2 '18 at 17:44
  • For reference, the talk says about why the DDP is developed. – Lee TY Feb 2 '18 at 17:53
  • What do you mean by: translation in my book?? I thought it was in English. What is: according to the talk? Do you mean speech? Or a talk given by a person? I find these questions very confusing. – Lambie Feb 2 '18 at 17:58
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    Possible duplicate of 'to' versus 'in order to' – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 2 '18 at 18:40

Your book is correct, and the sentences mean what it says they do.

But I can understand why this is confusing! Let's look at the parts that are different.

DDP challenges protecting inventor's ideas
DDP challenges to protect inventor's ideas

Usually, the gerund (verb-ing) and the infinitive (to verb) mean very similar things. For example, in

I like reading books
I like to read books

reading and to read mean almost exactly the same thing.

But to can also mean "for the purpose of" or "to achieve". For example, in

Sally exercises to stay fit

to stay fit means "for the purpose of staying fit".

In the first sentence, "DDP challenges protecting inventor's ideas", DDP is challenging something. What is that thing? Protecting, meaning the act of protecting the inventor's ideas. So DDP is challenging that act.

In the second sentence, "DDP challenges to protect inventor's ideas", we see "DDP challenges to", which means that DDP challenges for some reason, or to achieve some purpose. What is that purpose? To protect the inventor's ideas.

  • Thank you for perfect explanation. I understand the meaning of the infinitive (I think). – Lee TY Feb 2 '18 at 18:08
  • We often get people posting here who aren't clear about the difference between a noun phrase and an actual sentence. OP's first example strikes me as somewhat unusual phrasing for a sentence, but it wouldn't be all that odd as a noun phrase in a context such as DDP challenges protecting inventor's ideas include the Joe Bloggs vs Microsoft case last year, where DDP successfully argued for Mr Bloggs to be recognised as the rightful owner of certain code unlawfully plagiarised by MS. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 2 '18 at 18:15
  • @FumbleFingers - Yeah, the examples are still somewhat odd as full sentences, which is why I originally asked about newspaper headlines. But that's another can of worms. – stangdon Feb 2 '18 at 18:17
  • @stangdon: I think your answer is all good stuff, but looking at this page again now I think the question itself might essentially be a duplicate, so I'm gonna flag it up and see if anyone else agrees. (If they do, let that be a lesson to you not to rattle my cage by responding to my comments! :) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 2 '18 at 18:39

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