Here are some example sentences from different dictionaries.

With her qualifications and experience, she would seem to be ideally suited to/for the job. (Cambridge online dictionary)

This was a job to which he seemed well suited. / He is not really suited for a teaching career. (Oxford Learners' Dictionary online)

Satellites are uniquely suited to provide this information. (Collins online dictionary)

Why not to providing?

He is not suited to teaching. (Le Robert et Collins, dictionnaire français-anglais, paper version)

Why not to teach?

When followed by a noun, noun phrase, or pronoun, the adjective suited must be followed by the preposition to or for, that much is clear.

But when it is followed by a verb?

Is it to be suited to do something (full infinitive, preposition to or for dropped, Collins's example sentence) or to be suited to/for doing something (gerund, preposition maintained, Le Robert et Collins's example sentence)?

Does the type of subject – person (he) or thing (satellites) – have an influence on the structure one should use, or not?

It is not obvious that the adjective/verb-followed-by-noun and the adjective/verb-followed-by-verb structures should match, as is NOT the case in

to be scared of something / to remind someone of something


to be scared to do something / to remind someone to do something

but not

to remind someone of doing something *!

However, note that

to be scared of doing something

is possible, but with a change of meaning from intentional to accidental – I suppose – as in to be afraid to do something (to choose not to do something which is in your willpower, to avoid doing it – intentional, voluntary) versus to be afraid of doing something (to try to avoid something unpleasant happening to you – if it did happen, that would be accidental, involuntary).

These things are much more complicated than either the dictionaries or the grammar books make them out to be!

Unfortunately, many monolingual dictionaries not aimed at foreign learners do not give example sentences of adjectives/verbs followed by verbs because they do not even realize that choosing the form the verb should be in IS a difficulty!


Satellites are uniquely suited to provide this information.

Why not "for providing"?

And why not, indeed? The infinitive phrase "to provide" and the prepositional phrase "for providing" are both suited to express an intent or purpose. It makes sense for satellites to be suited to a use for the purpose of that use. It doesn't matter that satellites lack free will; a person can also have an intent or purpose. Experienced educators are also uniquely suited to provide certain kinds of information. Of course, it's not that simple. Assigning purpose to a living being does not always make sense.

He is not suited to teaching.

Why not "for teaching?" Why not "to teach"?

This "to teaching" does not express an intent or purpose. It expresses a circumstance. It represents an environment in which he could exist or a practice in which he could engage.

This is a question of what the infinitive or preposition is meant to express. It's a question of sensible colocation. It's a licensing issue.

This is one of those things that is very difficult to express because recursion is involved. Our metalanguage is a subset of our language, which means we apply the rules of language to our descriptions of the rules of language.

. . . suited to a purpose

And here, the word "purpose" doesn't purely represent a purpose but rather a circumstance. We now have an example of purpose as circumstance, as well as an example of the idiom "muddied waters".

She would seem to be ideally suited to/for the job.

Here, the job can represent a circumstance or a purpose, or both at the same time. This doesn't mean that "to" and "for" are equivalent. It just means that either one of them has a suitable role to play in this sentence.

This reminds me of trying to learn object-oriented programming.

This reminds me of [doing something]

That statement is well-formed and grammatically sound. It's completely different than being reminded to do something. I'm being reminded of a prior experience, rather than my intent to act.


The situation is both simpler and harder than you've made it out to be. This isn't about choosing the right form for the verb. It's about understanding what job each potential colocative might fill.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.