I came across this the other day, but found this strange:

It is never boring going into space. You get to experience...

Should it be:

It is never boring to go into space? You get to experience...

If both are possible, can anyone tell the difference in usage or meaning, or why do both have the same meaning?

Thanks a lot!

  • 2
    I prefer going, but accept both of them as natural. I see no difference in meaning.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 11, 2019 at 14:15
  • It's an extraposition construction. Generally, gerund-participials extrapose less readily than infinitivals, but the one here sounds alright to me. Some may find it only marginally acceptable.
    – BillJ
    Jan 11, 2019 at 15:35
  • @BillJ Thanks for your comment, but could you please further elaborate on it? I don't really understand the terms that you have mentioned. Also, consider posting this as an answer! Thank you very much Jan 12, 2019 at 4:22
  • Yes going is preferred.
    – Jeef
    Mar 15, 2019 at 1:10

1 Answer 1


To-infinitives can be used in some places that you use gerunds, but not others. This one is fine. In both cases, going and to go, it is referring to the abstract idea of going. If it refers to a specific case that has actually happened, it doesn't work - like "going into space has made me ill". However, "going into space can make people ill" can have the gerund replaced by the to-infinitive and it will still be grammatically correct. It will seem stilted, though. English has plenty of cases where several forms are correct but only one actually gets used.

That's not the only guideline to when you can replace a gerund with a to-infinitive, mind you. I'm not sure anyone's really catalogued them all. Basically, sometimes the to-infinitive can go where a gerund would go without changing the meaning at all. Sometimes it will be valid but significantly change the meaning, though not often. Sometimes it will produce a completely invalid sentence. It doesn't matter if it's acting as a subject or an object of a verb, all three are possible. I'm not sure you can ever do it if the gerund is acting as the object of a preposition, mind you.

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