I believe the following to be wrong:

"I don't commit enough to learn English"

Surely the continuous form is correct:

"I don't commit enough to learning English"

Or, maybe even better:

"I don't commit enough to the learning of English"

But I am unsure of what rules are determining the above use, because I believe we can have the following:

"I don't like to eat raw fish"

In this phrase the use of the infinitive form "to eat" seems to work fine.

Is it that some verbs are not usable in the infinitive form?

  • To avoid transitive use of "commit", and not having to add an object, you could write "I am not committed enough to learn/learning English."
    – user3169
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


You're right that "commit" normally takes an -ing clause rather than a bare infinitive, so your number 2 is better. But this is nothing to do with continuous tenses. "learning" here is acting as a verbal noun, as you can see in your example 3.

The difference with your 4, is not the "eat" versus "learn": it is about the frame verb. "Like" may take an infinitive with 'to' ("like to eat") or an -ing clause ("like eating fish"). "Commit" in this sense can only take an -ing clause.

[Actually there is a further complication, that there are two different meanings to "commit", which take different complements, and you're mixing them up.

If you use "commit" without a direct object, as you are, it means "promise" or "undertake" or "bind oneself", and can be followed by 'to' and a noun phrase (including an -ing clause) or by an infinitive with 'to'. So "I commit to learning English" or "I commit to learn English", meaning "I promise that I will learn English".

But that is not actually what you mean here, I think. You need "commit" with a direct object, meaning "dedicate some resources", and that cannot take an infinitive: "I commit time to learning English".

So what I think you mean is "I don't commit enough time to learning English". ]

  • also, if you commit X to Y the to is required in the verb phrase whereas with like, the "to" is part of the complement/object phrase.
    – eques
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 14:44

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