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I have some problems when it comes to the usage of "to" vs "ing" to express the infinite form like in:

[1] To avoid wasting time trying to figure out ..."
[2] To avoid to waste time trying to figuring out ..."

what is the right way to start the sentence and why prefering "to" or "-ing"?

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  • [2] is ungrammatical because the infinitival "to waste time ..." cannot satisfy the complement requirements of "avoid", which requires a gerund-participial clause as in [1]. – BillJ Jul 18 '20 at 12:39
  • "Trying to figuring out" is incorrect too. – nnnnnn Jul 18 '20 at 13:09
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[1] To avoid wasting time trying to figure out ...

[2] *To avoid to waste time trying to figuring out ...

[1] is fine, but [2] is ungrammatical because the infinitival clause "to waste time ..." cannot satisfy the complement requirements of the verb "avoid", which requires a gerund-participial clause as in [1].

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  • so the [1] is correct? what about "To avoid wasting time trying figuring out"? – Randomize Jul 18 '20 at 12:45
  • Yes, [1] is fine. Your new example is ungrammatical: the two ing forms "trying and "figuring" do not work well together. We call this the 'doubl-ing constraint'. You want "trying to figure out ...". – BillJ Jul 18 '20 at 12:52
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The to-infinitive does not sound natural to me; moreover an ngram shows that it is not used.

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