I was trying to find out if a preposition to after the verb dream is correct, as in this example:

Why do they all dream to come here?

The person who said that in her YT vlog is not a native English speaker. I understand what prepositions to use with the word dream as a noun- dream of/about(somebody/someone), but the preposition to after the verb dream doesn't sound correct. Google search brings results for dream (as a noun) to come, as well as sentences for dream (as a verb) to come, but the latter examples have either foreign sources, or from the social media. In Oxford examples of sentences with the verb dream followed by another verb (doing something) prepositions of or about are used:

She dreams of running her own business. (https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/dream_2)

Should I assume that the sentences where a preposition to follows the verb dream are grammatically incorrect and the action verb (doing something) must have the ing form: "I dream of running a marathon." "I dream about visiting Antarctica."

  • 1
    The verb "dream" can be followed by a that-clause, "of" or "about". "To" would be wrong as a preposition, but I agree that it sounds wrong as an infinitive particle too.
    – user168384
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 22:39
  • 2
    Use a gerund. The idiom is dream of coming/going/winning ... Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 23:13
  • You could say "It was my dream to circumnavigate the world", but that's the only context I can think of for using dream to.
    – stangdon
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 23:32
  • The best way to find out whether to use an infinitive or a gerund is to look in a good dicationary, such as Cambridge Dictionary. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/dream In this case it clearly indicates that the gerund form of xxxing is sanctioned, but the to xxxx form is not.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Apr 22, 2023 at 10:05

1 Answer 1


If you want a full infinitive, you can certainly say, "Humans dream to maintain the health of their brains." (That has the "in order to" meaning.)

You could also use "to" as a preposition if it's licensed for some other reason. (E.g., a sleep researcher might say, "Every night, the subject has dreamless sleep from 10:00 pm to midnight, dreams to 2:00 am, and then has more dreamless sleep until waking up.") I think that such cases would be rare.

In general, however, you're correct; in English the verb "dream" usually doesn't take a full infinitive dependent (complement). When people say things like what your YT vlogger said, it is often considered unusual or simply incorrect.

  • 1
    It's not really "in order to." You don't generate the dream as a means of achieving the goal. It seems more like a synonym of "wish."
    – alphabet
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 0:55
  • @alphabet Why do humans dream? In order to maintain the health of their brains. "Humans" refers not to individual persons but to all members of the species. Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 18:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .