Many prepositions usually come before a noun. We usually use the --ing form of verbs after prepositions which come before nouns. Some examples of prepositions like this are: in, on, at, about, of, up and to. Here are some examples of sentences with prepositions plus --ing:
- I succeeded in passing my exams
- I am keen on dancing.
- I am good at cooking.
- I am mad about jogging.
- I tire of reading very quickly
- I gave up smoking.
- I object to working.
Some verbs about liking/enjoying activities and also not liking/not enjoying activities usually take --ing forms of the verb:
I like shopping
I hate shopping
I love shopping
I don't mind shopping
I enjoy shopping
I detest shopping
I loathe shopping
I adore shopping
Some other verbs also take --ing form. The best way to learn them is to learn the verbs in a sentence, not just as one word:
Sometimes we know that there is a to after a particular verb. We don't always know whether to is a preposition or whether it is part of another verb phrase, for example 'to swim':
- want to [verb]
- object to [verb]
There is an easy way to test whether to is a preposition or part of another verb. We can use a noun after the verb that we want to test:
- I want bananas. (no to)
- I object to bananas. (still has to)
In the first example, the word to disappeared. This shows that it belongs to another verb. It belongs to an infinitive. When there is no verb after want, there is no to. In the example with object, we still have the word to. This shows that it is a preposition. We still use the preposition when it comes before a noun.
Now we know that want must be followed by to + infinitive and object to must be followed by --ing (because to here is a preposition):
- I want [to smoke].
- I object to [smoking].
Hope this is helpful!