Why do you say "to speaking" in this phrase? The surprising secret to speaking with confidence" What is the reason to use ING at the end of the verb speak?

2 Answers 2


"To" in this construction is a preposition, not part of the infinitive of the verb. In fact the verb "speak" is not a verb at all here, but a gerund.

The construction is The secret to noun, with "to" meaning "of." Thus:

  • The secret to math.
  • The secret to happiness.
  • The secret to speaking with confidence.
  • 2
    To and of are not interchangeable here. "The secret to <x>" means a secret that achieves or improves <x>, but <x> itself is not the thing that is secret. "The secret of <y>" could be used either when <y> itself is the secret thing ("The secret of adding cinnamon to hot chocolate") or just that the secret is associated with <y> ("The secret of the lost mine").
    – The Photon
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 3:26

the surprising secret to speaking with confidence

In this phrase, speaking functions as a noun and is called a gerund.

gerund noun [ C ] LANGUAGE specialized UK /ˈdʒer.ənd/ US /ˈdʒer.ənd/


a word ending in "-ing" that is made from a verb and used like a noun: In the sentence "Everyone enjoyed Tyler's singing", the word "singing" is a gerund.

Cambridge Dictionary

Further reference on the use of the form to+v+ing is shown below.


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