Preposition + verb+ing

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Welcome to your Preposition + Verb+ing lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• The general rule
Before / After / By / Without
• To + verb+ing
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

The general rule

If a preposition is followed by a verb, the verb has +ing at the end:

Let’s start by cutting the onions.

What are the advantages of living in the west?

We should go out instead of staying in tonight.

​Sometimes you can also add a noun before the verb:

I’m fed up with my boss talking down to me.

Instead of Brian working two jobs, why doesn’t his wife get a job?

Before / After / By / Without

Before + verb+ing and After + verb+ing:

Before working in London, I worked in Liverpool.

After watching the film I cleaned the house.

​You can also say:

Before I worked in London, I worked in Liverpool.

After I watched the film I cleaned the house.

By + verb+ing:

You can apply for the job by calling the HR manager.

We start making curry by frying onions.

The accident was caused by someone driving too fast.

Without + verb+ing:

He ran the race without stopping!

Without thinking, he saved the dog from the burning building.

I’ve got enough to think about without worrying about your problems.

To + verb+ing

To is sometimes part of an infinitive:

They wanted to eat cake.

Would you like to go out tonight?

To is also a preposition:

He ran from Liverpool to Manchester.

He prefers running to reading.

I’m looking forward to the picnic on Saturday.

As already mentioned, if a preposition is followed by a verb, the verb ends in +ing. So, when to is a preposition and followed by a verb, the form is to verb+ing:

I prefer sitting at home to running in the mountains.

I’m really looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

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