"Important to doing something" vs "Imortant to do something"


Although Mister Micawber explained in detail to FangFang the difference between “important to do something” and “important to doing something”, I am still none the wiser! :shock: :shock:

Could you please explain the difference with some more details? I would also request you to answer the following questions specifically!

Q1- What if I use the first form of verb in the following examples? Would they sound odd or wrong? E.g, [color=blue]important to provide etc.

Q2- If you were SPEAKING the folowing sentences, which form of verb would you probably use?

Ok Tom

Will try to clarify

Important to do something, is general and can be an internal wish, desire, ambition or drive.

It is important to do your best when teaching others, so they move forward in their learning.
It is important to speak up if you feel strongly about domestic policy.
It is important to do something creative in order to pass on your legacy after you have passed away.

Important to doing something, is more specific and what is necessary for an effective or improved process as in the examples so aptly provided by Mister Micawber.

The focus is different.

My question to you is, could you explain when we use do and doing?
If you can answer this question maybe it can shine a light on answering your own question.

Hi Tom
Important to=important for

That experience is important to(for) providing quality care( adverbial modifier of purpose).
No, the Infinitive is not appropriate in such construction, I think.
I can change it into:
That experience is important for us to provide quality care
It’s important to provide quality care by using that experience

Just my two([size=59]not so qualified[/size]) cents :lol:

Frankly, seldom can I read “be important to doing sth” in our grammar books,maybe I didn’t read a lot. :oops:

What you’re dealing with here is the difference between:
adjective + preposition + gerund
adjective + infinitive.

They’re two different kinds of constructions.

Let’s do adjective + preposition + gerund first.

Some adjectives are frequently followed by prepositions. The only form of a verb that can follow a preposition is a gerund, because a gerund or gerund phrase basically functions as a noun or noun phrase. So you get:

Fertilizer is important to raising healthy plants.
“Fertilizer” is the subject, “to” is a preposition, and “raising” is a gerund.

Research is essential to making the right purchase.
“Research” is the subject, “to” is a preposition, and “making” is the gerund.

His voice was hoarse from screaming.
“His voice” is the subject, “from” is a preposition, and “screaming” is a gerund.

Now, the adjective + infinitive.

These sentences are kind of complicated. There’s usually an it somewhere as either a dummy subject or a dummy object. The it is a place holder for the infinitive phrase, which is the real subject or object.

Look at these old-fashioned sounding, but correct, sentences. In them, the subject is the infinitive phrase.

[color=darkred]To finish now would be impossible.
[color=darkred]To make a good impression is extremely important.

It is possible – and very typical – to move the infinitive phrase to the predicate and put it in the subject position where the infinitive came from.

[color=darkred]It would be impossible [color=darkred]to finish now.
[color=darkred]It is extremely important [color=darkred]to make a good impression.

Many thanks, Jamie (K) :smiley:

I am really grateful!


Hi Tom,

Take this sentence:

It is important to learn the grammar of a language if you want to understand its construction.

You can replace ‘important’ with any adjective under the sun and the construction remains the same = to + the infinitive form of the following verb.

With this sentence the subject is not the abstract ‘it’ but a noun:

Grammar is important for understanding the construction of a language.

You can replace ‘important’ with any adjective under the sun and the construction remains the same = preposition + the gerund form of the following verb.

After most prepositions except ‘to’ (and not always after ‘to’) the following verb is in the gerund form.


It’s true that you can replace “important” with any adjective.

It’s disputable that “to” is a preposition here. (Actually, it’s not disputable, but I’m being diplomatic.) “To” is generally considered part of the infinitive, which is why most ESL grammar books distinguish between the infinitive of the verb and the base form of the verb. Also, if “to” were a preposition here, there would be no such thing as a “split infinitive”, because “to” plus the verb would not be one piece, and there would be nothing to split. And in modern syntactic theory, that “to” from the infinitive is considered a tenseless auxiliary.

Not true. These are two different sentences. They mean the same thing, but in terms of grammar, you’re comparing apples and oranges.

In the sentence:

The noun “grammar” is the object of the verb “learn”, not the subject of the verb “is”. The syntactic subject of the sentence is “it”, and the logical subject of the sentence is “to learn the grammar of the language”. You can see it here:

[color=darkred]To learn the grammar of a language is important if you want to understand its construction.

The subject gets moved into the predicate, and the normal normal subject position is filled by the expletive subject “it”, so that the verb “is” can have something to get tense and number from. The result is:

[color=darkred]It is important [color=darkred]to learn the grammar of a language if you want to understand its construction.

When I wrote ‘this’ I was talking about this (following) not ‘that’ (previous)

Grammar is important for understanding the construction of a language

She is going to doing a lot of traveling.

I want some idea regardin this sentence specifically the use to+doing

That sentence is completely incorrect. It should be, “She is going to do a lot of traveling.” “Going to doing” is not possible.

1.be/get used to+Ving
[color=darkred]I [color=red]am [color=orange]used/accustomed [color=brown]to [color=green]lousy food/having junk food.
: [color=darkred]S+[color=red]V+[color=orange]Adj+[color=brown]Prep+[color=green]O
the ‘to’ here is a ‘prep’ so it is a ‘noun’ after it. Ving can be both ‘adj’(present participle) and ‘noun’(gerund). And here is the ‘gerund’ to be the object of the prep ‘to’.

2.used to+RV
[color=darkred]I [color=red]used [color=orange]to have [color=brown]junk food.
:[color=darkred]S+[color=red]V(simple past tense)+[color=orange]infinitive+[color=brown]O
infinitive has two forms, perfective infinitive(to have Ved) and simple infinitive, here is the simple infinitive(to+RV). ‘junk food’ is the object of the verb ‘have/eat’.

I used to have junk food.
= I was used to having junk food, yet now I’m not.
= I was accustomed to having junk food, yet now I’m not.

3.be used to+RV(different from the form “be/get used to+Ving”)
[color=darkred]Clocks [color=red]are [color=orange]used [color=brown]to tell [color=green]the time.
It’s just like “Pens are used to write.

Hope it’s helpful.

And to+Ving:
be equal to+Ving
be devoted oneself to+Ving
when it comes to+Ving
look forward+Ving
object to/be opposed to +Ving
thanks to/owing to +Ving
in addition to+Ving
pay attention to+Ving
with a view to+Ving
What do you say to +Ving