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  1. #1
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    Default prone to ing/inf

    In my dictionary I could find some examples of "prone to" followed by "ing" or "to inf"
    e.g. She is prone to making stupid remarks
    They were prone to believe anything you told them

    However, when checking the answers to an exercise, I only found the following answer:
    This plant is prone to getting/being attacked by insects.
    Would it be correct to say "This plant is prone to be attacked by insects" or is there a difference in usage? Thanks

  2. #2
    Buddhaheart is offline Member
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    Default Re: prone to ing/inf

    ‘To’ is not an infinitive marker but a preposition in your sentences. What follows a preposition should normally be a noun or noun phrase. ‘Prone’ is one of those few adjectives like ‘inclined’ or ‘consent’ used with ‘to’ and followed by a bare verb like an infinitive.

    I would say This plant is prone to attack (as a noun not a verb) by insects.

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    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: prone to ing/inf

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhaheart View Post
    ‘To’ is not an infinitive marker but a preposition in your sentences. What follows a preposition should normally be a noun or noun phrase. ‘Prone’ is one of those few adjectives like ‘inclined’ or ‘consent’ used with ‘to’ and followed by a bare verb like an infinitive.

    I would say This plant is prone to attack (as a noun not a verb) by insects.
    Yes, Buddhaheart, you've made a good point but
    besides some of the adjectives, some intransitive or transitive verbs, nouns and idiomatic phrases are followed by the preposition "to", to name a few:

    Adjectives
    addicted to, averse to, comparable to, be equal to...+ing

    However, I wondered if there was any, grammatically, norms/rules in distinguishing the "to" is a preposition or a particle of an infinitive in a sentence at a glance.

    Intransitive verbs
    amount to, admit to, apply to, confess to... +ing

    Transitive verbs
    abandon oneself to, adapt oneself to, contribute to... +ing

    Nouns (some are derivatives of adjectives or verbs)
    approach to, alternative to, adjustment to, dislike to... +ing

    Idiomatic phrases
    as to, feel up to, come(go) near to, go far to... +ing

    However, I wondered if there was any shortcut in distinguishing whether the "to" is a preposition or a particle of the infinitive at a glance.
    Last edited by albertino; 19-Sep-2007 at 04:16.

  4. #4
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: prone to ing/inf

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhaheart View Post
    ‘To’ is not an infinitive marker but a preposition in your sentences. What follows a preposition should normally be a noun or noun phrase. ‘Prone’ is one of those few adjectives like ‘inclined’ or ‘consent’ used with ‘to’ and followed by a bare verb like an infinitive.

    I would say This plant is prone to attack (as a noun not a verb) by insects.
    (Be) prone to can take both bare infinitive? and gerund. This means to in prone to can either be a preposition or followed by a verb like the infinitive because to in (be)prone to is part of be prone not the infinitive:
    He is prone to gain weight
    Tired drivers are prone to ignore warning signs.

    Survivors are prone to bleeding/anxiety

    Often (be) prone to is followed by a noun which means it can be followed by gerund but there are numerous cases with what looks like bare infinitive. Maybe the bare infinitive shows the liklihood whereas the gerund an innate disposition. Perhaps because of to after prone was taken for inifinitive by mistake. Could you please explain what you mean: it is not infinitive but a verb like infinitive? Is there a name for it?
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 19-Sep-2007 at 08:38.

  5. #5
    Fleur de mort Guest

    Default Re: prone to ing/inf

    Important.
    Thanks.

  6. #6
    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: prone to ing/inf

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    (Be) prone to can take both bare infinitive? and gerund. This means to in prone to can either be a preposition or followed by a verb like the infinitive because to in (be)prone to is part of be prone not the infinitive:
    He is prone to gain weight
    Tired drivers are prone to ignore warning signs.

    Survivors are prone to bleeding/anxiety

    Often (be) prone to is followed by a noun which means it can be followed by gerund but there are numerous cases with what looks like bare infinitive. Maybe the bare infinitive shows the liklihood whereas gerund an innate disposition. Perhaps because of to after prone it was taken for inifinitive by mistake. Could you please explain what you mean: it is not infinitive but a verb like infinitive? Is there a name for it?
    To my understanding, be prone to (adj.) can be followed by both an infintive and a gerund.
    For example,
    Be prone to do something (to + infinitive) : an action
    Kids are prone to eat junk food.
    Be prone to something (preposition + noun/gerund) : a state or an event.
    The Yellow River is prone to destructive floods in Summer.
    Many parents are prone to boasting about of their children and talk ing about how excellent they are.

  7. #7
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: prone to ing/inf

    To in (be) prone to is NOT part of the infinitive. It is part of (be) be prone to. The question is: Is what follows (be) prone to a bare infinitive or something else? If it is not infinitive what is it then?

    All prepositions take the gerund but to is special (see my article in memember area: to To or not to To http://www.usingenglish.com/members/...not-to-to.html). To is much more complex:
    1. It can be a preposition: gerund
    2. Part of the infinitive: infinitive
    3. Part of an adjective as in inclined to, allergic to
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 19-Sep-2007 at 08:31.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: prone to ing/inf

    Quote Originally Posted by micaelo View Post
    Would it be correct to say "This plant is prone to be attacked by insects" or is there a difference in usage? Thanks
    As you know, prone can take either an infinitive or a gerund as its object:

    infinitive: prone to get headaches
    verb + verb's object
    meaning, hasn't had headaches before

    gerund: prone to getting headaches
    noun + noun's object
    meaning, might have had headaches before
    gerund's object: prone to headaches
    noun's object / ellipsis
    default meaning, has had headaches before
    With that said, your example sentence, This plant is prone to be attacked by insects, has an infinitive verb, so it should work, but its verb is BE + a past participle, which makes it look like a passive verb, and which is why it reads awkward--or rather, it doesn't seem to fit the pattern prone to + infinitive + noun.

    => Is it ungrammatical? No.

    infinitive: This plant is prone to attack by insects.
    meaning, insects might attack the plant.

    gerund: This plant is prone to being attacked by insects.
    meaning: insects have attacked the plant or like plants before.

    BE + past participle: This plant is prone to be attacked by insects.
    meaning, the plant will definitely be attacked by insects.

  9. #9
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: prone to ing/inf

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    As you know, prone can take either an infinitive or a gerund as its object:
    [.
    Some verbs (not only adjectives or past participles) take both the gerund and the infinitive often with difference in meaning. Some as with start and begin... seem to have lost this difference. So if you think (be) prone to can be followed by both, what is the difference in meaning then?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: prone to ing/inf

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    So if you think (be) prone to can be followed by both, what is the difference in meaning then?
    Sorry. What is the question?

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