I am curious if it possible to use a short phrase:

I am looking forward.

It is a short version without to + noun/gerund. I would like to use it at the end of the discussion with somebody, when it is obvious what I am looking forward to. So this is the way to type less words and I am curious if it is grammatically correct.

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  • To the close voters: The question deserves to be left open for the answer and fine explanation provided by Andrew Leach. – Mari-Lou A May 24 at 8:45

Very often in English, prepositions attached to verbs alter the meaning. Looking is one such verb.

  • I am looking — this has a number of meanings, from searching ("looking for it") to appearing ("looking thoughtful"). The "appearing" meaning requires an object; the "searching" meaning requires an object after for. The phrase "I am looking" can omit "for it" when that's understood ("Come on, find it!" "I'm looking!") and generally means that you're looking at something or for something but not seeing it.
  • I am looking in — looking in can mean visiting ("looking in on Clive"; "looking in this afternoon") or have its normal prepositional meaning ("I'm looking in the living room"). Where the meaning is its normal prepositional meaning, it requires a prepositional object ("the living room").
  • I am looking into — can mean investigating ("looking into Clive's disappearance") or have its normal prepositional meaning ("looking into the living room through the window"). Looking into always requires an object, and the context determines which meaning the verb has.
  • I am looking forward — without the additional preposition to can only have its normal meaning, that you are facing forward. The to changes the meaning to "anticipating", and that meaning actually requires an object: you can't simply be anticipating, you have to be anticipating something.

So, no: you can't just say "I am looking forward" when your intended meaning is "I am eagerly anticipating" — just as you can't say simply "I am eagerly anticipating".

  • 'I am [really] looking forward to' corresponds to 'I am eagerly anticipating' and both need an 'object'. 'I am looking forward' is doubly deficient when one is aiming for the anticipatory sense. / I'd prefer 'what appears to be a verb + preposition construction is often better interpreted as a unitary string; so 'take off' = 'impersonate' (for example, and of course in one sense)'. But +1 for the contextualising. – Edwin Ashworth May 23 at 11:25
  • The phrase “I am looking forward to our dinner” (or lunch) is so standard that among close friends it might be casually abbreviated to “Lookin’ forward!” with “to seeing you” implied. – Xanne May 24 at 8:41

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