“Preposition + verb+ing”


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General English

Welcome to your “Preposition + Verb+ing” lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• The general rule
“Before” / “After” / “By” / “Without”
“To + verb+ing”
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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.”

“Thanks for inviting us to the picnic.”

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.”