it is a systematic approach "to obtain" or "obtaining"?


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?


Posted 2015-11-18T10:31:15.643

Reputation: 367

1Could you share the complete sentences? – snailplane – 2015-11-18T10:59:36.647

It is a systematic approach to implementing our hiring process. Thank you. – Themacdaddynyc – 2015-11-18T11:12:30.077

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 – 2015-12-09T12:03:05.640

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.

– Yuri – 2016-03-30T09:09:34.047



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.....


Posted 2015-11-18T10:31:15.643