For Example:

Your guide 'to living' well with diseases. 'To living' your dream life.

Why use living instead of live?

I would like to know how to use and why to use a gerund instead of an infinitive following to.

2 Answers 2


A gerund is a verb form that can function as a noun. You use it in phrases after "to" whenever a noun is required. As a test, you can replace the gerund with a noun and see if it still makes sense. So to use your example since you can say "a guide to life", it is appropriate to say "a guide to living well."

There are some other uses of the gerund at this link: http://www.edufind.com/english/grammar/gerund.php


With the specific example of "living", the gerund form slightly emphasizes lifestyle, whereas "to live" slightly emphasizes staying alive. "A guide to live well" kind of sounds like something to help you survive (although it could maybe also be about lifestyle, but it sounds slightly wrong) whereas "A guide to living well" sounds like something that helps you have a great lifestyle and enjoy life.

In general, the gerund tends to emphasize the ongoing process of the activity, whereas the infinitive emphasizes the entirety of the activity. There are also just some constructions that require one or the other because of convention; Googling "infinitive or gerund" gives several ESL lessons on the subject.

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