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We can say:

  1. We will continue to support Windows 10.
  2. We will continue supporting Windows 10.

However, we say

I will consider going fishing.

but cannot say

I will consider to go fishing.

Is it just the way it is? Just like: nobody says it this way and so we won't say it this way? It is like in Hong Kong, if the waiter gives you a glass of water, and you say "thank you" in Cantonese, it is considered to be weird, because the common practice is to say, "You shouldn't" (meaning I am not entitled to your service, to mean thank you for giving me the water in a humble way).

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  • The short answer is that some verbs are like that. I like to ski, I like skiing, I want to ski, but not I want skiing.
    – stangdon
    Jun 5, 2023 at 21:51

1 Answer 1

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This is called a catenative sentence. There is a clause headed by the verb "consider" and instead of an object, the clause is completed by another clause "going fishing", headed by the participle verb "going".

It is called "catenative" (from a Latin word meaning chain) because there is a "chain" of verbs.

The second verb in the chain is usually either an infinitive (to do) or a participle-gerund (doing). The first verb determines what form the second verb should take.

Look at the wiktionary page on catenative verbs It shows that "consider" is followed by a participle-gerund. On the other hand "continue" may be followed by either an infinitive or a participle with no difference in meaning.

That page is quite long, but native English speakers follow all the rules on that page without thinking, so it is quite important for learners to know which verbs are followed by an infinitive and which are followed by a participle. This is a grammar rule of English, so it is more important than choice to say "thank you" or "you shouldn't" in Cantonese.

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  • I don't think it is "native speakers follow all these rules"... I think it is more like from the way people speak, the rules are written Jun 5, 2023 at 22:46
  • That is true, but a bit empty. Consider Cantonese, it has grammar. you can't just put words together in any order. English is just the same. There is grammar, and part of the grammar of English is that "consider to go fishing" is not an "allowed" sequence of words. So, yes the rules are descriptive of how native speakers speak. But as a learner you have to learn them as if they are prescriptive.
    – James K
    Jun 5, 2023 at 22:53
  • @StefanieGauss You misunderstand what ‘rules’ means here. It’s not like laws that someone more or less arbitrarily made up and now everyone has to learn them and abide by them. Language is a system with rules that govern how that system is used; we all unconsciously abide by them every time we speak, but unlike laws, we don’t necessarily know them consciously – we have to extrapolate them from how we speak, through analysis. Just like the laws of physics: we didn’t write or invent them, we just describe how we observe them to work. So yes, native speakers do follow all those rules, just → Jun 6, 2023 at 9:51
  • → like the world and universe around us follow the rules of physics. Jun 6, 2023 at 9:52
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    I want to distinguish between grammar and "polite custom". In English, when someone sneezes you say "Bless you", not "Get better soon", or "Please don't sneeze". Those phrases are correct grammar, but not "polite custom". On the other hand, "I'll consider to go fishing" is incorrect grammar. Just like "You blesses" is incorrect grammar. Do you see the difference between "grammar" and "custom"?
    – James K
    Jun 7, 2023 at 21:42

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