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I have a problem about starting sentences with to be from of the verbs or gerund ones. I have read the similar articles here and some on the net but they are so confusing.

Could you please tell me the differences in an easy way?

For example To be an engineer is hard Vs Being an engineer is hard.

  • I'd prefer simply, "Engineering is hard." I would prefer, "Being a doctor is hard," to, "To be a doctor is hard." – Les Tivers Oct 22 '18 at 22:07
  • Hi. Thank you. I just would like to know the differences. – David Oct 22 '18 at 23:28
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I would say that the forms starting with "To" are grammatical, but they are unusual in subject position.

I suggest that this is partly because there are other constructions which start a sentence with a "to" infinitive, that have a different structure, so you are likely to get a garden path sentence, which confuses the hearer.

The two constructions that occur to me are:

Purpose clause: "to be an engineer" is a common way of saying "in order to be an engineer".

Discursive: sometimes the effect of "I will consider your comments in order" is expressed by an initial infinitive clause: "To take your comments in order, ..."

Both of these actually have a different structure from your examples, and a hearer will eventually work out that you are not using one of them; but there may be a moment of confusion first.

  • Hi. Thank you. Could you please tell me about the structures or if the structures have a name, tell me to find information about them??? – David Oct 22 '18 at 23:26

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