English Grammar

the "ing" thing

Hi, I would like to understand the differences between these 2 phrases (or do we say "sentences" or something else ?)

1. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
2. I'm looking forward to see you Sunday.

Could we also say :

4. I look forward to see you Sunday.
5. I'm looking forward to seeing you Sunday...

This sentence is often seeing when writing English business letters...

I imagine (that) you cannot say :

- I hope to seeing you Sunday ????

Thank you

p.s. : The word "that" in parentheses is a must or not ?



  • First of all I must say that grammar is not my cup of tea. I hope you'll get a better-qualified explanation, but, in the mean time, I'm gonna tell you my opinion.

    1. What I am sure of, it's that the sentences 2 and 4 are wrong.
    <To look forward to> is a phrasal verb. The second particle <to> is part of a compound and not the particle of a possible infinitive coming thereafter. That phrasal verb necessarily entails as object, either a noun, or the gerund of a verb.

    2. What does tell <I look forward to seeing you Sunday.> from <I'm looking forward to seeing you Sunday.>?
    I think it's a shade of meaning.
    If, instead of telling "I tell you that.", which seems to emphasize the "that", I say "I'm telling you that.", I'm putting the stress on the fact of telling and maybe on the "I".
    In a similar way,
    <I look forward to seeing you Sunday.> -> I will see you Sunday.(formal)
    <I am looking forward to seeing you Sunday.> -> I am impatient to see you Sunday. (The -ing form puts a stress on the subject waiting for the moment he will meet with the person.)

    3. <I imagine that you cannot say> is more formal (notably used in formal letters).
    <I imagine you cannot say> is the way of writing as it's usually spoken. Perfectly correct. THAT or not THAT according to the style of the expression.

    4. I think that <to hope> never entails a gerund. The particle TO is not part of a phrasal verb but of the infinitive coming after.
    So, I hope to be right in my comments.

    5. Shades of meaning again.
    <sentence> comes from Latin sentencia (opinion, feeling, judgement).
    <phrase> comes from Greek phraseo (I tell) via Latin phrasis.
    I guess that <sentence> puts the stress on what is said, the "sentencia", and that <phrase> emphasizes the fact of saying something.

    All that with all proper reserve.
    I'd like to know your opinion about my comments.
    I hope they will be cross-checked by someone else because I'm neither a native, nor a teacher.

    Okay dado?
  • Hi Gee,

    Thanks for the explanation about the "ing" thing. I agree with it and it is perfectly clear in my mind.
    But I'm not sure about your explanation of the words "sentence" and "phrase". I know but don't remember that another word exists to name a sequence of words when you have a subject, a verb,and what follows after a verb... well I just don't remember my English grammar !!

    It was sweet of you to answer me. I thought that someone from Gymglish would have answered me.

    Have a good day

    1 Maybe there was a mistake in my dialogue today " ... and I want to you to look at each ...

    2 Ostriches don't play badmiton but golf

  • Gee, you say that grammar is not your cup of tea but your explanation of clause, phrase and sentence seems to deserve a...high-five. I would never have the patience of checking, double-checking in various dictionaries.So you are lucky Dada to have a devoted and competent member of the Forum who is willing to spend so much time helpING you.
    As far as I am concerned, I don't like "grammar for grammar's sake" or "pure theory".Besides, grammar is quite flexible in English e.g. I don't think there is any difference between I look/am looking forward to your next visit. At the end of a formal letter, one often reads: I look(rarely I am looking) forward to hearING from you. Is it grammar or usage? Let's not worry to much...except when it changes the meaning of the sentence. I will give you two easy (obvious for some of you) examples:

    1. Now, I'll stop TO work.
    It means you stop (doing something) in order to work.

    Now, I'll stop workING.
    It means you think you have worked enough or you are fed up and you want to do
    something else e.g. have a look at the Forum!

    2. You always shout IS DIFFERENT FROM you are always shouthing.
    If someone tells you that you always shout: he/she simply notices the fact.
    If someone tells you you are always shouting: it means he/she is
    annoyed, irritated by your shouting and you'd better stop shoutING.

    I know my second example has nothing to do with the ing form but it is related to the use of tenses.I simply want to show that, in my humble opinion, theory is only important when it has something to do with the meaning of one's words.Of course, it is better to know (I am answering Dada) that one always uses the ING form after the verbs: to look forward TO, to object TO,to be used TO, to get used TO, to prefer doING something TO doING someting else,to devote time TO, to take TO(=to start) drinkING for example.

    Shall we call it a day(= shall we stop) for today? Maybe one of YOU will go on...
  • Thank you Silky for you explanation. It makes sense to me. Thanks again Gee !
    Have a good week you all!

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