Whenever I think of start doing something, the first thing comes to my mind is "I lack resources"

Is it OK to say "think of start doing something"? Because I can't find any result for that in Google.

All I find is, "think of" followed by object pronouns (Eg. you) or verb+ing form words (Eg. starting, doing). But I can't cite any "think of start doing" example.

This question may look trivial, but please help me.

2 Answers 2


No, it's not okay. The grammar is actually wrong. If it's a verb that comes after the phrasal verb to think of, you should follow this pattern:

to think of doing something

That something can be anything you want. Even another doing something if the verb with which it's used allows you to employ another "ing" form. Thus, you can certainly say think of doing doing something if you're otherwise not breaking any other grammar rules. But, in this case, I'd go with Khan's suggestion and say that it probably does sound a little bit better to say starting to do something rather than starting doing something:

Whenever I think of starting to do something, the first thing that comes to my mind is "I lack resources".

Here's a simple rule of thumb to remember: in general, you can't use verbs after prepositions. It has to be either a noun (or a noun phrase) or a gerund (the "ing" form of a verb which allows verbs to function as nouns). To better illustrate the point that I'm trying to make, take a look at these examples:

You can significantly improve your English-speaking skills through listening. [gerund]

You can significantly improve your English-speaking skills through prolonged exposure to authentic English. [noun phrase]

You can significantly improve your English-speaking skills through listen. [verb - WRONG]


Whenever I think of start doing something... [incorrect]

It's not grammatical; you use an -ing form after the phrase "think of". Also, you don't use an -ing form after starting and beginning. So it's incorrect to say:

Whenever I think of starting doing something... [incorrect]

Instead, you can use a to-infinitive after starting as follows:

Whenever I think of starting to do something... [correct]

  • Thank you for pointing that out, but I don't think starting doing something is incorrect: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/15378/… Mar 19, 2018 at 18:43
  • See thefreedictionary.com/start and books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – Khan
    Mar 19, 2018 at 18:57
  • Right, starting to do is a lot more common than starting doing: books.google.com/ngrams/… But my point is that it certainly seems like people do occasionally say starting doing too Mar 19, 2018 at 19:03
  • 1
    "Starting doing" grates on my ears, and the answer you link to points out that it's grammatical but rare and generally avoided. "started doing" is fine; "starting doing" doesn't sound right. Even some of the results from your ngram look like typos or "misspeaks" to me, for example: After the 1993 reunion in San Antonio, we starting doing a newsletter and then changed it to a journal. I think that should be "started doing".
    – J.R.
    Mar 19, 2018 at 22:43

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