Would you please explain the use of to infinitive and to, as a preposition, + gerund, and when do we use one over the other? Many times, I have a problem deciding whether to use a regular to infinitive or treat the "to" as a preposition and add an -ing to the verb to make it gerund. I've gathered some sentences using to + gerund below:

  1. It is an approach to obtaining.....
  2. It is a key to making.....

Other than "key/approach/committed/dedicated to +ing," could you guys think of other words?

  • 1
    Could you share the complete sentences?
    – user230
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 10:59
  • It is a systematic approach to implementing our hiring process. Thank you. Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 11:12
  • Maybe it might be simpler if you thought of your choice as "to + infinitive" and "for + gerund"? Don't get too caught up in only using "to".
    – Peter
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 12:03
  • In your examples, both nouns key and approach collocates with a preposition after them. If you need to use a form of verb after a preposition, it's definitely a gerund. Key to sth, approach to sth. That aside, take a look at this link since where to use gdrund and infinitive is a long story. grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/gerunds.htm
    – Yuri
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


Mainly, if to is a preposition, we need to use a noun after it. It means if we a verb after that, then we should use the gerund form.

Now we need to know how to recognize if a to is a preposition.

  1. When to is part of a phrasal verb then it's a pereposition.

I’m really looking forward to seeing him.

  1. When to is used after an adjective:

The Boy Scouts organization is dedicated to helping boys become moral and productive adults.

  1. In a noun + preposition construction:

It is an approach to obtaining....

It is a key to making.....

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