1. I am happy seeing you succeed.

I am happy to see you succeed.

  1. I want you to succeed.

I want you succeeding.

I want your succeeding.

Could you please explain the differences between them, and the first and second examples independently of each other?

  • 1
    Where is a noun? The pattern is "adjective + to infinitive " , the second one is "verb + to infinitive ".
    – V.V.
    Nov 23, 2015 at 3:05

3 Answers 3


I am happy seeing you succeed.

This means, effectively, I am happy while I'm seeing you succeed. There is a slight implication of causality -- I am happy because I see you succeeding -- but not that strong.

For example, if I said, "I am happy waiting here", I would mean that waiting is acceptable, that it would not make me unhappy to wait while the other person went and did something.

I am happy to see you succeed.

This could mean exactly what you think -- I am happy because I see you succeeding -- but in other constructions it could mean I am volunteering for something, or saying I would stand by while it happened. "I am happy to help you move" is me volunteering to help. "I am happy to watch you kill yourself" is a way of saying I won't interfere.

I want you to succeed.

This can only be interpreted literally.

I want you succeeding.

This means "I want to maintain you in the state of being successful". A doctor might say, "I want you exercising and eating right" -- he wants you to do that every day.

I want your succeeding.

This is grammatically correct but not idiomatic. "Your succeeding" is a legitimate noun-phrase, but saying "I want it" usually means I want to possess something, not that I want that thing to occur. So "I want a birthday party" sounds childish; says, "I want to have a birthday party."

"Your succeeding is important to me" is more idiomatic, but using the gerund "succeeding" as a noun sounds odd when there is an independent noun "success" that could be used instead.


English verb allows a limited set of possible forms in its complements:

I want you to + [verb]

  • I want you to succeed.
  • I want you to talk.

happy to + [something}

  • I am happy to see you succeed.
  • They are happy to see me doing well.

I want your + [noun]

  • I want your success.
  • I want your love.

In some cases, the construct is a gerund - a verb's present participle being used in a phrase as a noun. e.g. "Seeing you succeed, I decided to work harder and apply myself".

So both option 1a) and 1b) are perfectly acceptable usage.

2a) - "I want you to succeed" - is fine.

2b) - "I want you succeeding" - is fine.

2c) - "I want your succeeding" is not fine. It is a present participle, but it is not being made into a gerund (a noun-equivalent) because it is not being placed in a phrase. As there is nothing to possess, the possessive form - "your" - is inapplicable.

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