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I would need to understand the difference between the following sentences:

I am very keen to do that.
I am very keen on doing that.
I am keen that I can do that.

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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would use keen on doing when talking about my general likes, and keen to do when talking about a specific instance, so

I am very keen on swimming

I am very keen to go swimming today

But the difference is subtle, and I don't know that everybody else would make that distinction.

The third one is possible, but a little unlikely, because keen that is usually talking about something happening that depends on other people's actions (possibly one's own actions as well), so it sounds a bit odd when talking about one's own ability to do something. I would expect it to imply that somebody else must do something to make it possible for me to do the thing, so

I am very keen that I can go swimming today

suggests that I need somebody to take me, or people to leave me alone to get all my work done first, or the doctor to pronounce me fit to got swimming or something like these.

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is it like "like"? I like swimming. I like to go swimming today. –  Hongbo Zhu Jun 27 '12 at 13:56
    
Yes. To be "keen to do X" means you like to do X or very much want to do X. –  Jay Jun 27 '12 at 15:40
    
@ColinFine, sounds interesting (and it seems very convincing). However, how do you feel about these examples: "I’m always keen to go somewhere new" vs. "He's always been keen on becoming a dad" or "You're not keen on going, are you?" –  Alex B. Jun 27 '12 at 16:25
    
Also see Examples (67)(a)-(d) in Transformational Grammar by Andrew Radford, which illustrate use of pronouns after keen. –  jwpat7 Jun 27 '12 at 16:27
    
@AlexB: all your examples are fine for me. I said the differences were subtle! –  Colin Fine Jun 29 '12 at 16:42
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