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Given the example:

I have trouble speaking English.

Can we use both present participle (speaking) and to-infinitive (to speak) after have trouble? If both are allowed, do the two have the same meaning or not?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

No, you may not use the to-infinitive after to have trouble. You may only use the -ing form. You can think of it as an abbreviated version of this:

I have trouble with speaking English.

And for the most part, to-infinitives make poor objects of prepositions; for that were gerunds invented.

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The with is optional. I have trouble speaking English is fine, as is I always have trouble starting the car in January, She had trouble explaining it to them, and I don't know why you have trouble doing that. –  John Lawler Dec 27 '12 at 3:50
@JohnLawler I hope I did not accidentally imply that with with is mandatory. I just find it easier to make sense of if I think of it as being there. –  tchrist Dec 27 '12 at 3:53
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