10 Vote

Hi everyonesmile I've been wondering about this rule for a long time and I still can't understand it, some English natives say :-

  1. I'm looking forward to meet you.
  2. I'm used to get up early.

And other say :

  1. I'm looking forward to meeting you.
  2. I'm used to getting up early.

I know that the second one is the correct rule :-

Am,is,are + Looking forward to , used to + verb + ing

But I also hear the First one a lot, can you please tell me which one is correct?

Are there any rules that tells you when to use the Inf form and when to add Ing to the verb ?


Any ideas are very appreciated, Thank you so much.grin

  • Please correct my mistakes , thanks :) - 00b6f46c Nov 8, 2010 flag
  • I personally would only use the second form, the first sounds wrong to me (American English)- now I will have to pay attention to whether anyone I know uses the first. - Stadt Nov 8, 2010 flag
  • "are there any rules" just a correction :) - dewclaw Nov 8, 2010 flag
  • Thanks so much :) - 00b6f46c Nov 8, 2010 flag

10 Answers

6 Vote

In Spanish to turn a verb into a noun (use a verb form as a noun) there is only one possibility; use the infinitive. In English there are two: use the infinitive or use the present participle (in which case we call it the gerund). However, these are only possibilities. After that point, usage takes over as the determining factor. Which is to say, there may be nothing wrong (grammatically with a certain construction) but (almost) nobody actually uses it.

In the case of your particular examples, "I'm looking forward to ..." and "I'm used to ..." the the use of "to" is required by the preceding verb in the construction (and, thus, is/can not be part of an infinitive). So, you could say "To meet you would be a pleasure." ("to meet" used as a noun) but "Looking forward to to meet you." (note: "to to" is intentional, not a typo) (intending the "to meet" to serve as a noun) sounds awful.

English speakers (at least on this site) frequently confuse grammar with usage. Grammar is concerned with the abstract relationships among word types (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, et al.) Thus, "at such and such a point in a sentence you need to use an adjective, not an adverb" is a statement about grammar. On the other hand, "you should use 'meeting' instead of "to meet" is a statement about usage, rather than grammar (since .both are legitimate ways to construct a noun from a verb).

It is quite common to find a response that says "this is wrong" , "this is ungrammatical", "no one says this", when what they should have said is "I don't say this." / "My friends don't say this." / I've never heard this.", etc.Obviously (well I would hope that it was obvious), the fact that you (or your friends) do not use a particular construction, in no way means that nobody (perhaps a large number of English speakers) uses such constructions.

  • Brilliant ! You have taken grammatical explanation to an art form . Capital ! Gets my vote. - ray76 Nov 10, 2010 flag
  • Thank you so much samdie ! - 00b6f46c Nov 10, 2010 flag
5 Vote

Lovely, I would say,

I am looking forward to meeting you.

I am not used to getting up early.

(I had to change the last sentence to make it true in my case. The first sentence is already true.smile )

  • Nice answer Sandy and I also agree on both counts. - Yeser007 Nov 9, 2010 flag
  • this is it, a grammar rule, very weird in Spanish - 00494d19 Nov 10, 2010 flag
  • Very nice Sandy thanks a lot :))) - 00b6f46c Nov 10, 2010 flag
  • Thank you, Lovely. - sanlee Feb 15, 2011 flag
3 Vote

Hi, Lovely,

Here are examples of correct English:

1 . I'm looking forward to meet you.

Could be:

I'm looking forward to meeting you.

I'm eager to meet you.

2 . I'm used to get up early.

Could be:

I'm used to getting up early.

I usually get up early.

3 Vote

Ok now I'm going to put in my two cents. Aside from what is grammatically correct or commonly used I just want to point out what I think may be the mistake in the first place. Now LL and Bill both say they have heard bla bla...meet you. Could it be just slurred speech? So often we Americans have a tendency to just say meet'n or go'n or do'n or whatever without completely pronounc'n the gerund inG. I know I'm guilty of it even if no one else will admit it. Let me go back to the beginning,"Ok now I'm gonna put in my two cents" which is most likely how it is going to sound if I'm simply talking with a bunch of my buddies and not trying to impress anyone with my command of the English language. I just wanted to make a point. Thank you!

  • yes, that is so true! I bet the person said something like "I'm lookin' forward to meetin' you", we love shortening our words around here. - athegr8 Nov 9, 2010 flag
  • Well that's a very important part yesero and it also gets me confused a lot , thanks : )) - 00b6f46c Nov 10, 2010 flag
2 Vote

I'm going to agree with Dewclaw. The first two bullet points sound like non-native speakers doing a direct translation, and it sounds bad to me. They may be acceptable, but 99% of the time, native English speakers will use the later format with the -ing endings.

Hope this helps!

1 Vote

The first one is not right, it sounds like awkward english. I would say that you are mistaking what you hear, perhaps it really is "meeting" not "meet".

The first one could be

"I used to get up early"

1 Vote

I'm not a native speaker, but I have often made myself the same question. And yes, I've also been taught that the right way to say it is with the present participle, not the infinitive, but a simple google search shows that both are used in practice.

  • Yes you are correct about this. Someone translating from the Spanish will need to learn that the infiintive in Spanish is often tranlslated into English with the present continuous tense - FELIZ77 Nov 8, 2010 flag
  • using the present participle or gerund as Samdie correctly states. eg Me gusta nadar (Sp)= /becomes I like swimming (Eng) - FELIZ77 Nov 8, 2010 flag
  • It can also be translated as I like to swim. - FELIZ77 Nov 8, 2010 flag
  • just because it is used in practice doesn't mean that it is necessarily correct. - Pibosan Nov 10, 2010 flag
  • Please correct bill, his English is almost perfect, but ...to ask a question bill;) - 00494d19 Nov 10, 2010 flag
1 Vote

Regarding "I'm used to get up early" - I think they meant to say "I used to get up early" which means they had the habit of getting up early, but probably they don't do this so much now. ("I used to..." = "In the past, I...")

"I'm used to getting up early" means that they usually start their day early - i.e. it's a current habit, not an old one. (The "I'm" is "I am" which is present tense).

Regarding "to meet you" versus "to meeting you", they mean approximately the same thing and I think you could use either formation. Disclaimer: I'm English but I never studied grammar - these are just personal opinions.

  • Gracias hutchike & welcome to the forum :) - 00b6f46c Nov 10, 2010 flag
1 Vote

We say

I'm pleased to meet you

I've arranged to meet you

I'd like to meet you

I'll tell you when I meet you


and they are all correct, so I'm not surprised it's difficult to make sense of :

"I'm looking forward to meet you" - sounding awful!

Samdie has given a good explanation, I'm just adding a little sympathy for all the learners!

1 Vote

For constructions with "looking forward to" and "used to", the gerund is obligatory, or it can also be followed by a noun/pronoun:

I'm looking forward to my holiday/the new Harry Potter film/the roast beef with Yorkshire Pudding/seeing the film/drinking a nice glass of wine.

I don't think any grammar book would say "I am looking forward to meet you" is correct.

I can only half agree with Samdie's last paragraph. Expressions and choice of words might vary a great deals between communities. What sounds perfectly natural in, say, South Africa, would probably be quite weird in Northern Ireland. But whether a construction is grammatically correct or not should be pretty universal in the English speaking world. Non?

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