Set 1:

  1. China is close to be the centre of world trade.
  1. China is close to being the centre of world trade.

Set 2:

  1. I am on my way to be 25.
  1. I am on my way to being 25

Which is the correct form, the first or the second? What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences?


2 Answers 2


Close to and (the) way to both take -ing clauses, not infinitive clause.

There is no logic or general rule to this, and it has no discernable relationship to the meaning: it is just a property of those particular words. It is no more predictable than the fact that the adjective close cannot mean "which has been closed", whereas the adjective open can mean "which has been opened".

For examples of similar words that go the other way, consider ready to and prepared to, both of which require an infinitive clause, not an -ing clause.


The World Trade Center is, famously, the complex of buildings destroyed in the 9/11 attacks and now rebuilt. However, you could say China is close to becoming the centre/center of world trade.

We would not use the infinitive in sentences like this.

  • thankyou :) So you mean even in the set2 both forms are wrong?? Jul 21, 2020 at 8:52

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