I have seen quite a few people confused with the usage of "to Ving", when to use it and why. 

 

The difference is the usage of "to" as a "preposition" or as an “infinitive”.   By the way, only gerunds (not infinitives) can be used as objects of prepositions.  See grammar structure #3 listed below.

 

(1) to infinitive

I like to eat.

To listen to your parents is important.

= It is important to listen to your parents.

 

(2) Ving (gerund)

I enjoy having dinner with you.
The history prevents repeating itself.

 

(3) Prep gerund

I am accustomed to being alone.
I look forward to meeting you.

Next week, we begin explaining the steps to getting an American education in the United States
The next step to becoming a successful writer is the ability to write essays.

=The ability to write essays is the next step to becoming a successful writer.

I am refrained from talking to you.

 

The grammar structure of Prep gerund is:

 

(3a) This experience is important to providing better customer service.

"This experience" is the subject, "to" is a preposition, and "providing" is a gerund.
(3b) I am accustomed to being alone.
"I" is the subject, "to" is a preposition, and "being" is a gerund. Ving can be both 'adjective' (present participle) and 'noun' (gerund). Here,
“being” is the 'gerund' used as the object of the prep 'to'.

Some other examples where you will see “to” used as a preposition are:

(a) I am opposed to eating anything alive.

(b) I have devoted myself to cleaning up all the junk mails I received.

(c) When it comes to giving a lecture, I have to say I am not very good at it.

(d) In addition to getting a loan from the bank, he still needs some financial support from his parents.

 

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