When "teach" means to give lessons, we say "teach somebody something", for example, “He teaches them English”.

However, when “teach” means to show people how to do something, we say “teach somebody to do something”, for example, “He taught me to ride a bike”.

"Drawing" could be a noun meanings "the skill of drawing" or just a verb in -ING form.

Is it correct to say the following?

She taught me drawing
She taught me to draw

  • 2
    Both are possible, but there is a difference in the syntax. "To draw" is a clause functioning as complement of "taught", while "drawing" is a noun functioning as direct object of "taught".
    – BillJ
    Oct 6, 2021 at 7:10

1 Answer 1


You could use both.

The infinitive form means that you didn't know how to draw, and then she taught you, and now you do know how to draw.

The "-ing" suggests that there is a skill called "drawing" and she taught a course in it. Perhaps were already able to draw, but she helped you improve.

  • 4
    I'd say "He taught me cooking/dancing" sounds fine to me as a native speaker. Use caution around more specific skills, though – "he taught me how to cook pasta" is fine, but "he taught me cooking pasta" doesn't fit the same way.
    – TylerW
    Oct 6, 2021 at 13:40
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    @TylerW It doesn't fit the same way, because in "He taught me cooking" cooking is a noun but in "He taught be cooking pasta" pasta is the noun and cooking is an adjective. If you omit the adjective, "He taught me pasta" is grammatically correct, but it doesn't make much sense.
    – alephzero
    Oct 6, 2021 at 13:59
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    @alephzero I think "cooking pasta" is just a noun phrase - cooking isn't an adjective here. It's an adjective in the sentence "He showed me his cooking utensils", as "cooking" describes the purpose of the utensils. In the sentence "He taught me cooking pasta", "cooking" doesn't describe the pasta in any way - it doesn't imply that you were taught something about pasta used for cooking, as opposed to pasta used for display or art projects or anything else. One does not have a box of "cooking pasta" and a box of "art pasta". Oct 6, 2021 at 15:30
  • 2
    @TylerW, as alluded, one would (in that context) probably say "pasta cooking" (adj noun), not "cooking pasta".
    – Matthew
    Oct 6, 2021 at 17:19
  • 2
    @Matthew but you would rarely hear it said that way, a native speaker would say "they taught me how to make pasta/pizza/whatever" . You might hear the form ____ cooking if you are talking about a specific genre, eg "they taught me italian cooking" (but probably better to say "italian cuisine").
    – eps
    Oct 6, 2021 at 19:36

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