why we use "ing" with verb that comes after preposition?

For example: he is accused for breaking a new vase.

here breaking is being used after for


When a non-finite verb form is the object of a preposition, it is almost always a gerund, i.e., the present participle (or -ing) form of a verb used as a noun. The only reason we can give is that it's idiomatic in English, which is only a way of saying that's the way it is. Of course, this being English, there's an exception:

He was accused of breaking the new vase.
He had no choice except to defend himself.

The first sentence is the usual case: the gerund breaking appears as the object of the preposition of. The second sentence is the rarer case: the infinitive to defend appears as the object of the preposition except.

  • Historically, isn't our present participle derived from the gerund, rather than the other way round? E.g. "He was a-swimming" [=he was in the act of swimming] becoming just "He was swimming". – David Garner May 17 '16 at 8:00
  • @DavidGarner Sorry, I have no idea. Present participle is the lexical term for a particular verb form: the form following to in an infinitive plus the suffix -ing. Gerund is the term for the role a present participle takes in a sentence, namely subject, object, or complement -- the roles also taken by noun phrases. Present participles can also take the role of modifier, in which case they're called participial adjectives. – deadrat May 17 '16 at 8:16
  • 1
    if we're mainly interested in describing English as it is now, wouldn't it be better to say that the present participle and gerund have the same ending, -ing? After all, you wouldn't say that the possessive "'s'" ending is also used to form the third-person singular present form of verbs. – David Garner May 17 '16 at 8:21
  • The driveby downvoter (belatedly) strikes again. This discourtesy is a plague upon this site. Is the answer wrong? incomplete? misleading? Nobody knows. I have no way to improve the answer if that's the case. If the opposite holds, and the answer is correct, then the questioner (and others) may be left with the wrong impression. – deadrat Nov 13 '16 at 17:51
  • You might want to clarify that although to can be a preposition in many phrases, that in the phrase except to defend himself, except is a preposition (which I initially missed you pointing out) and that to is a particle because it's part of an infinitive. – CJ Dennis Apr 28 '18 at 3:38

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