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    • Join Date: May 2009
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    #1

    to study or studying

    Please advise me which sentence is more natural and why it is.

    (A) My aim is studying harder.
    (B) My aim is to study harder.

    Thank you.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: to study or studying

    Quote Originally Posted by yun View Post
    Please advise me which sentence is more natural and why it is.

    (A) My aim is studying harder.
    (B) My aim is to study harder.

    Thank you.
    B is more natural because that is how it is more commonly expressed.
    But A is not necessarily wrong.
    I prefer the second versions of the following:
    Her goal is getting a gold medal
    . Her goal is to get a gold medal.
    John's ambition is becoming a doctor. John's ambition is to become a doctor.
    You can see that a sentence like the above could be ambiguous, ie. it's not John that is becoming a doctor; it's his ambition that is becoming a doctor. (Not a good example, but I hope you see the point). This doesn't happen with the "to" version. I would advise using the "to" form unless you have a good reason not to.


    • Join Date: May 2009
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    #3

    Re: to study or studying

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You can see that a sentence like the above could be ambiguous, ie. it's not John that is becoming a doctor; it's his ambition that is becoming a doctor. (Not a good example, but I hope you see the point). This doesn't happen with the "to" version. I would advise using the "to" form unless you have a good reason not to.
    Thank you for your help again.
    My question is;
    In the two sentences, both gerund and infinitive are used like a noun.
    So, I don't get it why you say "this doesn't happen with the to".
    Do you mean "becoming" is more like a noun and "to become" is not?

    Please see following syntax.

    Noun A is noun B. -> A is equal to B.
    Noun A is gerund B. -> A is equal to B.
    Noun A is to infinitive B. A is not equal to B???

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: to study or studying

    Quote Originally Posted by yun View Post
    thank you for your help again.
    My question is;
    in the two sentences, both gerund and infinitive are used like a noun.
    they are if you read them that way, in the way they are intended.
    When a sentence is ambiguous it has alternative readings.


    so, i don't get it why you say "this doesn't happen with the to".
    Do you mean "becoming" is more like a noun and "to become" is not?

    i mean that there is no ambiguity with the "to" form, but there is with the other form.
    1. John's aim is to become more accurate.
    2. John's aim is becoming more accurate.

    1. Means that john has an aim, and that aim is for john to become more accurate. This is a goal he has for the future.
    2. could mean this too.
    2. Could also mean that when john shoots something with his rifle, his aim is becoming more accurate. Read that way, it has nothing to do with a goal about the future. It is not about john becoming more accurate. It is a statement that his aim with the rifle is steadily improving in its accuracy.

    Do you understand this point? If you don't, i'll try to come up with a better illustration.
    Since this ambiguity happens often in the gerund form, it's best to use the infinitive form, which does not have those two meanings.

    r.


    • Join Date: May 2009
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    #5

    Re: to study or studying

    Most English grammar books in Korea say infinitive has a feature of future/being specific while gerund has a feature of past(completion)/being general.
    Therefore, the books explain infinitive is more appropriate than gerund in the sample sentence.
    (Anyone can easily note that studying is not present participle in "My aim is studying harder", so there is no ambiguity and it is clear studying is gerund working like a noun.)
    But, I am not sure if l can take the grammatic theory as it is.
    However, your explanation seems to correspond to what the grammar books say in a way.
    Thank you.
    Last edited by yun; 09-Jul-2009 at 14:47.

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