I come across some opinions of native English speakers that "I don't feel comfortable to do something" is not idiomatic and should be replaced with "I don't feel comfortable doing something"?

Do you agree with it?

However, they say that "I don't feel comfortable enough to do something" is OK. How could you explain this:

"I don't feel comfortable enough to do something" OK "I don't feel comfortable to do something" WRONG

I am also surprised to have found a few examples on the internet.

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Appropriations. Subcommittee on Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations · 1998

Do you feel comfortable to tell us so the Committee could find out?

Michigan Occasional Papers in Women's Studie Do you feel comfortable to make eye contact with an interviewer and to sit in a relaxed way?

California. Supreme Court. Do you feel comfortable to procced this way now, or what is your desire?


I agree with your informants. Comfortable takes an -ing clause, not an infinitive.

I note that all the examples you give are in official settings, and the speakers may have felt that "comfortable to do" was more formal than "comfortable doing". I don't agree with them, but this may be a difference in dialect (those examples are all American and I am English).

I tried to do a comparison of the two structures on the iWeb corpus, but instances of comfortable to VERB in this sense are swamped by examples of the construction in these shoes are comfortable to wear.

Edit: I've thought of a way of looking in the corpus. You (be) comfortable to (verb) gets 97 hits. You (be) comfortable (verb)ing gets 2046.

  • 3
    I agree. Also, you can almost always find counterexamples to any kind of usage - sometimes people have idiosyncratic ways of speaking, or speak imprecisely, or speak in a dialect (even in an official context). Also we should note that "comfortable enough" is different because it is a different form; "enough" is not a to-infinitive, but it takes a to-infinitive after it.
    – stangdon
    Apr 12 at 11:49

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