English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I got this sentence from the Economist:

There are two primary objections to moving to the chained CPI.

My question is, why have they used moving instead of move after objections to?

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by Carlo_R., cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Kristina Lopez, MετάEd, Hellion Apr 10 '13 at 15:04

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I think this is General Reference because the question can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. In fact you can find the answer here grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/verblist.htm in the table named "Verbs Followed by a Preposition and a Gerund". – user19148 Apr 7 '13 at 21:31
@Carlo: that link is actually wrong in at least one case. It's "I detest speaking in public", and not "I detest to speak in public". – Peter Shor Apr 7 '13 at 22:29
Two primary objections to move to chained CPI. may work in headlinese, with 'move' here as a noun. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 7 '13 at 22:37
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Because you need a noun to complete the phrasal verb objecting to XXX. That means you need a noun phrase there. Moving as a gerund is a noun. Move by itself is not one.

You seem to have been distracted into thinking that there is a to-infinitive involved here. There is not. That to is part of object to, not part of to move.

share|improve this answer
Precisely. Constituents are what's important, not words. If you interpret the boundaries of the constituents wrong, you get nowhere. – John Lawler Apr 7 '13 at 20:46
I don't believe there is any magic formula here with nouns or verbs. You can say "I aspire to greatness", but you have to say "I aspire to paint nudes". Similarly, you can say "I object to greatness", but you have to say "I object to painting nudes". – Peter Shor Apr 7 '13 at 22:37
But three of these constructions are verb + preposition (+ ...) - where to is the preposition, while one is verb + to-infinitive (+ ...), a catenation in which a totally different word, to, the infinitive marker, is used. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 7 '13 at 22:45
@PeterShor I don’t find that “I aspire to paint nudes” sits well with me. I would prefer that to be “I aspire to painting nudes” — Two Gentleman from Verona notwithstanding (“Wilt thou aspire to guide the heauenly Car.”). – tchrist Apr 7 '13 at 23:11
@Edwin: That's true. What I'm trying to point out is that just because a verb takes "to + noun" doesn't mean that that it takes "to + gerund". – Peter Shor Apr 7 '13 at 23:11


  • I have objections to eating horse meat.
  • He has fantasies of painting nudes.
  • She is possessed with eating cupcakes all day.
  • I do love having briyani for dinner.


  • I have objections to eat horse meat.
  • He has fantasies to paint nudes.
  • She is possessed to eat cupcakes all day.
  • I do love to have briyani for dinner.

Let's elaborate on the stories.

Jan: Mary, do you eat horse meat?
Mary: No. I have objections to eating horse meat.
Jan: Henry, do you have objections to the silly-pussy wishy-washy liberacci animal welfairy attitudes of Mary's, to eat horse meat?
Henry: I have objections, to eat horse eat. I have sufficient of such objections to let me eat horse meat.

There are two modes of speech here

  • Use of a noun phrase due to the present continuous particle aka gerund, as subject of story
  • Use of an infinitive verb phrase, as subject of story.

Occasionally both modes would result in the same message.

  • I love drawing animals.
  • I love to draw animals.


  1. I would like drawing animals.
  2. I would like to draw animals.

sing different messages.

For an illustration, let us use the auxiliary verb {would} to encapsulatie the story in a generalised time domain,

I <TimeDomain>{would} {rest of predicate}

Where TimeDomain is an encapsulation of being either Past or Subjunctive.

The following encapsulates the story within a period/range of time in the past, where the action is not punctiliar (a point in time).

As a child, I would like drawing animals whenever I felt like it. I would climb trees and rocks anytime there was daylight.

The following encapsulates a subjunctive domain, asserting a desire to execute a punctiliar event of starting an action, in subjunction to a condition or another action.

Hmm... what would I like to do next? What should I do after we have sprayed graffiti? I would like to paint animals!

share|improve this answer
I don't understand this answer. "I have objections to painting nudes," but "I have aspirations to paint nudes." Similarly, "I object to painting nudes," but "I aspire to paint nudes." Basically, you just have to know which verb form goes with which noun/verb. As far as I can tell, there's no magic formula. – Peter Shor Apr 7 '13 at 22:26
The 5th, 6th and 7th bulleted sentences are unacceptable: 'Your search - "objections to eat" - did not find any results.' "fantasies to paint" - 1 (once repeated) result. "possessed to eat" - 4 distinct relevant Google hits. 'Have objections to' takes an -ing form (perhaps with a completer) or noun group. 'Love' + 'having' and 'Love' + 'to have' are examples of love catenating with an -ing form and a to-infinitive respectively. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 7 '13 at 22:33

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.