For example we do not say:

I look forward to the seeing you, or in the doing so.

But sometimes we say:

In the beginning, in the fighting, the ruling, etc.

As such, is there any different rule concerning the –ing nouns or they should follow the same rules as the common nouns do?

  • 2
    Are you sure seeing and doing are nouns in those first examples? I suspect most people will interpret them as verbs.
    – oerkelens
    Jul 7, 2015 at 8:43
  • 3
    Right, what oerkelens said. Sometimes -ing forms are verb forms, sometimes they're nouns. Look at their modification, complementation, and inflectional forms to see.
    – user230
    Jul 7, 2015 at 8:45
  • Note that beginning, fighting, and ruling have their own noun definitions, probably not only in Macmillan Dictionary. -- Also note that look forward to our meeting or look forward to the meeting is surely possible. -- And this is also possible: I'm looking forward to our seeing each other again. Jul 7, 2015 at 9:31
  • @oerkelens, I' m not sure but in the sentence: "Seeing is good, doing is bad.", seeing and doing are not subjects and subjects are not nouns? Jul 7, 2015 at 9:35
  • 2
    When they are truly used as nouns, they act like other nouns, indeed. But When they are used as verbs they are and behave differently.
    – oerkelens
    Jul 7, 2015 at 10:49

2 Answers 2


'seeing' is not a noun there. It's a verb. And due to 'look forward...' pattern, it takes the verb in the form of '-ing'.

I look forward to see seeing you.

Does the question still stand?

  • Thank you! So, when they are nouns, they follow the same patterns as the ordinary nouns, right?-:) Jul 7, 2015 at 9:59
  • 1
    Nouns have no pattern! They are the verbs! Stop thinking about 'look forward to', take some other example and it'll be clear.
    – Maulik V
    Jul 7, 2015 at 10:10

Simply because it is shorter, because the article does not achieve much, and because without article the sense is as clear as with article.

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