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Combining continuous tense and other tenses

Question: When I was studying English at school, one of my teachers told me that you can’t a verb + ing after “to”.
But for example, you say: “i’m looking forward to doing something”.
So, is there any rule about the use of the verb “alone” or the verb + ing?



In English the infinitive is like this: to go; to be; to eat.

All verbs ending –ing are the continuous form and used in conjunction with the conjugation of to be: I’m going; I was going.

One example of where you can use both is when you talk about what you like or love doing.

I like to go shopping / I like going shopping. Both of these are fine.

“I’m looking forward to going out with you.” With looking forward we use to and the continuous, it’s true.

What we are doing is making a complex mixture of tenses. Native speakers do it often but it is quite complicated and very difficult to explain.


“Next year I hope to be studying at a top university.” (Present + future continuous.)

“In my next job I want to be doing something more relevant to my career.”

I wish I was dating her.” (Present + past continuous = conditional tense.)


I hope this helps you understand. It is very difficult and unfortunately I am not able to explain this effectively. I would advise that you use the examples above to understand these combinations but they’re probably too difficult to learn to use unless you are very confident. Native speakers combine the tenses as above but I think it is something that only we can do in terms of manipulating our own language.

If I can help further please feel free to comment and ask more questions.

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