# [Grammar]-ing VS to+infinite

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#### GuidoCa

##### Member
Dear all,

I know that this point has been already discussed.

However, there are some cases where the difference between ing and to+infinite is not yet clear to me.
The above-mentioned post says that the main difference is that ing form is used when the action takes place in the past, to+inf when it takes place in the future.
What about the present?
The Cambridge dictionary suggests that ing put emphasis on the action itself while to+inf on preference.
(http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/verb-patterns-verb-infinitive-or-verb-ing):
ex1) I like to drink - (preference/habit)
ex2) I like drinking - (the action/process)

So far so good (this example comes from Cambridge).
ex3a) Figure 2 shows the probability of performing another activity before coming back home
vs
ex3b) Figure 4b shows the probability to perform another activity before coming back home

Are they both correct? Does 3a put emphasis on the process, while 3b on the preference/habit?

Thanks a lot !

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#### bhaisahab

##### Moderator
Staff member
Did you read post #6 in the thread you are linking to?

#### GuidoCa

##### Member
Yes, I did. But I still cannot link this answer with my example 3. I can give it a try. As 5jj suggested, the rule does not fit many cases. He proposed one. However, the case he proposed is similar to example 1 and 2 from the Cambridge dictionary

Figure 2 shows the probability of performing another activity before coming back home. (right because it is a past/present action with respect to the current action – coming back home)
Figure 2 shows the probability to perform another activity before coming back home. (wrong because of the same reason)

The condition I find on Cambridge dictionary explains the verbs, which do not fit this idea. (as in example 1 and 2). Is that right?

I am lost too.

Staff member

#### MikeNewYork

##### VIP Member
I think I prefer to stay lost.

#### GoesStation

##### No Longer With Us (RIP)
ex3a) Figure 2 shows the probability of performing another activity before coming back home
vs
ex3b) Figure 4b shows the probability to perform another activity before coming back home

Are they both correct? Does 3a put emphasis on the process, while 3b on the preference/habit?

Thanks a lot !

Only 3a is correct. Every phrase I can think of with the pattern "the xability" can only be followed by a gerund.

#### GoesStation

##### No Longer With Us (RIP)
How about 'The train has the capability to reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour.'── quoted from http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/capability

I would write "The train can reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour." If I were feeling verbose, I might write "The train is able to reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour."

If I wrote the latter sentence, I'd probably change it to the former on revision.

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