I am always confused with the form of “to doing something”, e.g.:

I admitted to doing something.


I admitted to do something.

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    Many people are confused with stuff like this. The problem is thinking of to doing as being a unit. To and doing are just two words that might come together accidentally, whereas to do is a unit, a constituent, an infinitive verb with an infinitive complementizer to Commented May 11, 2014 at 3:14
  • Thank you for your comment.What is the difference between these two expressions. especially the meaning. How should I use "to doing something" in my writing.
    – user74777
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 3:21
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    You shouldn't use it; it's not an expression. That's what I just said. Commented May 11, 2014 at 3:29
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    Doing x constitutes a gerund clause (or at least the verb phrase of it -- the subject of doing is also the subject of admitted, so it's deleted by A-Equi. Admitted to is the main verb, and the to is required for any object, whether it's a gerund or a noun or a pronoun; the bracketing is [[admitted to] [doing x]]. With an infinitive want to do x, the bracketing is [want [to [do x]]]. Commented May 11, 2014 at 14:58
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    @JohnLawler why don't you put that as an answer?
    – Maulik V
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 9:12

3 Answers 3


The question's title is in so far incorrectly phrased as the choice between the gerund "doing" and the infinitive "to do" is based on which word is preceding.

For instance, the fixed expression "to look forward to" is followed by a gerund while the verb "to agree" is followed by an infinitive.


I am looking forward to hearing from you.
She agreed to let me go early.

To make it worse, there are verbs which are followed by both gerund and infinitive; and sometimes, they mean pretty much the same thing and in other cases, they are totally different in meaning.

The disappointing truth is that you'll have to learn and remember it for every verb. Luckily, most times a dictionary will tell you which to use. In case of "to admit to something" (where something is your action you've admitted to) the expression is followed by gerund.

She admits to being strict with her children.


I admit to doing something.

I admit to do something.

Both the sentences are correct. But I think the first one is used more often than the second one. Actually the second one is very rare, and old fashioned.

As others have already mentioned, it all depends on the whether the verb is followed by gerund or infinitive.

Example -

I look forward to playing on our home ground.

This is the correct sentence, but using to play here, instead to playing is considered wrong or incorrect.

But what if the verb is neutral, I mean where the verb can take both the form? Then, how to decide when to use to + verb and when to use to + verb + ing?

There is a simple rule -

Write the sentence till you reach to, and then omit the rest part for the time being. Replace the rest part with a noun. If this make sense and seems correct, you can use to + verb + ing form, otherwise stick to infinitive form to + verb

Example -

Consider the sentence -

  1. He loves to play football.

  2. He loves to playing football.

Following the above rule, write till to

He loves to Football.

It doesn't convey the meaning properly. So we can't use to + verb + ing form. And hence only sentence #1 is correct.

Now consider this -

  1. He reached closer to finishing the job.

Following the rule, rewrite the sentence till to

He reached closer to THE DEADLINE (A Noun). This makes sense, and so we can use to + verb + ing form, as well as the base infinitive form to + verb* form.

Does this answer make sense?

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    I haven't read this answer beyond the first sentence ("Both the sentence is correct"). That sentence is both untrue and ungrammatical, which is quite enough to justify my downvote. Commented May 17, 2014 at 20:12
  • @FumbleFingers Actually there are instances where the second sentence are used. But they are very rare, and from Ngram it shows that it actually was in use in the past. So I don't see any point to declare it to be incorrect. But it's true enough that we should avoid this construction. Commented May 17, 2014 at 23:44
  • If you go back a couple of centuries and more, there was a time when the meaning and syntax of admit could in some contexts correspond to today's permit. But it was never common even then, and it's certainly of no relevance to anyone wishing to learn current English. Commented May 18, 2014 at 15:36

As per my understanding;

"I admitted to doing something." : This is wrong.

Doing something means you are currently working on it. You are combining Simple Past + present continues that gives wrong meaning.

"I admitted to do something." : This is correct. This is a simple past form and this is correct. This means you you are describing thing happened in the past.

Thanks Emil

  • I admitted to doing something is correct, and I admitted to do something is incorrect, in AusE, BrE, AmE, and NZE.
    – jimsug
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 5:20

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