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I am confused; why we always use "Listening to music" why not "Listening Music"? Can somebody please explain.

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Let's try it the other way around - you tell us why you think it should be "listening music", and we'll explain why not. –  Avner Shahar-Kashtan Jun 28 '13 at 4:48
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Some verbs are transitive, others aren't. In a great many languages, not just English. There is no point in asking why, and in fact it's quite typically unanswerable. Why did you just say "I am"? Why not "I are" or "Hb loufd"? There is no reason whatsoever for it to be "I am". It just so happened. –  RegDwigнt Jun 28 '13 at 9:49
    
But @RegDwighт the answer is exactly the one you said it is. It seems clear that the OP is unaware of this feature in the English language, it is a common enough question among non-native speakers but also one, which I'm sure, many native speakers (by the very virtue that they have grown up with the language) are unaware of. –  Mari-Lou A Jun 28 '13 at 11:00
    
Oh for Heaven's sake, its obvious what they were asking. –  Facebook Answers Jun 28 '13 at 15:47
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@FacebookAnswers It's obvious what the question is, but it's completely unclear why the OP is confused. When we have so little to go on, what often happens is the answers miss the target. This is why the FAQ calls for the OP to provide information about their own attempts to answer the question and to provide adequate context. "I am confused, please explain" is simply a recipe for a lot more confusion. –  MετάEd Jun 28 '13 at 16:50
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closed as unclear what you're asking by RegDwigнt Jun 28 '13 at 9:49

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

4 Answers

Listening music would imply that the music was listening.

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But eating chicken usually doesn't imply that the chicken is doing the eating. –  Edwin Ashworth Jun 28 '13 at 8:29
    
Thats a valid point. You could say the same about painting something too. "The artist was painting Obama". I don't know why the question was downvoted as I think it is entirely valid. –  Facebook Answers Jun 28 '13 at 8:37
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There are many verbs that are used in constructions requiring a prepositional phrase rather than a direct object. Just a few examples:

attend to one's duties

refer to one's notes

reply to a letter

listen to music

approve of someone

believe in ghosts

Actually, the 'verb + preposition' structure is probably the key one, there being little (eg fight with / against) or no choice of a different preposition, which is not at all the case with the prepositional complement. In fact, there are similar-looking constructions where the structure is really more coherent than a 'verb + preposition' analysis would suggest:

see to a broken lock

take off a famous politician

(ie impersonate).

Sometimes, direct-object constructions are also available:

approve someone

believe ghosts

see a broken lock

but they often have slightly or very different meanings. Though fight X and fight against X are near-synonymous - and see below.

The reasons why these different structures are accepted may be hidden in the history of the language, so it can seem quite idiosyncratic nowadays. It's not strictly logical - for instance, in French 'écouter' means 'to listen to' - they don't add their version of 'to' (à) to the verb. Also, some verbs can be used with a direct object or a prepositional phrase, with little difference in meaning. Collins Cobuild grammar has a list which includes jeer (at), mourn (for), play (against), twiddle (with), rule (over) and brush (against). [These equivalences are true only for certain senses of these verbs, of course - eg brushed (against) his leg, not brushed the path.]

English verb + preposition constructions are covered in a series of articles found at http://esl.about.com/od/advancedvocabulary/ss/verbplusprep.htm .

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It's the verb "listening" that does it, I think. You can correctly say "watching movies", or "watching grass grow", but with listening it has to be accompanied by "to".

If you say "hearing" as another descriptor of auricular perception, there you can forego "to". "Hearing music". But "listening" implies conscious attention. The reason it requires a "to" in English is seemingly quite arbitrary, like many grammar choices.

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What do you like doing / do in your free time?

Verbs which do not require prepositions

(examples)

  • Reading books
  • Watching television
  • Playing golf
  • Going shopping
  • Doing housework
  • Cooking
  • The ironing
  • Taking photos

Verbs that require a preposition

(examples)

  • Applying for jobs.
  • Catching up with school-work.
  • Learning about something new
  • Listening to music
  • Spending time on my hobby
  • Talking to friends.
  • Taking care of old relatives
  • Working on the car

For a more extensive list of verbs with their corresponding prepositions English Page.com is useful.

Edit: J.R's comment below is a reminder that nothing in English is set in stone. I'm including it because it is clear, concise and a valuable piece of advice:

We can also look verbs up in a dictionary. Verbs will be labeled as transitive or intransitive, which are fancy ways of saying "used with an object (do not require prepositions)", and "require a preposition." The verb play can be used either way (e.g., play with toys, play golf); if we look up play in a dictionary, we can see that it's both. When we look up listen, however, it's listed as intransitive, meaning it will always take on a preposition.

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We can also look these words up in a dictionary. Verbs will be labeled as transitive or intransitive, which are fancy ways of saying "used with an object (do not require prepositions)", and "require a preposition." The verb play can be used either way (e.g., play with toys, play golf); if we look up play in a dictionary, we can see that it's both. When we look up listen, however, it's listed as intransitive, meaning it will always take on a preposition. –  J.R. Jun 28 '13 at 10:15
    
@J.R. Would you mind if I added your comment to my answer? It's clear and to the point. –  Mari-Lou A Jun 28 '13 at 10:41
    
If you think it makes your answer a better answer, go right ahead. I'd be honored. :^) –  J.R. Jun 28 '13 at 10:43
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