Have you ever ended your emails with this phrase?

I look forward to meet you!

Sit down, honey, we need to talk.

These phrases are often used in ending an English email:

I’m looking forward to meeting you!
I look forward to continuing our discussion in person.
I am looking forward to hearing back from you!
I look forward to returning your kind hospitality.

However, there are 2 things that people get confused about.

  1. What is the difference between ‘looking forward to’ and ‘look forward to’?
  2. Why is it ‘to meeting’ and ‘to continuing’, etc and not ‘to meet’ and ‘to continue’?

Guess what? I’ve got answers! Shocking, I know.

1. Both ‘looking forward to’ and ‘look forward to’ are correct. However, there is a slight difference in style. ‘Looking forward to’ is considered to be more informal/casual/friendly in style, whereas ‘look forward to’ is considered to be more formal/polite in style. Use whichever one works for you, depending on how you feel and who you are talking to!

2. You always need a verb + ing after the ‘to’, and here is why. This verb + ing is the prepositional object of the verb. That might sound confusing, but I’d like to give you other examples that follow the same rule, and then it will make more sense. Have a look at these sentences:

I’m scared of going out at night.
He’s interested in learning Indonesian.
She is fascinated by watching the stars in the sky.
They are irritated by hearing those sirens every day.
I am so angry about losing my keys!
He is frightened of hearing loud noises.

All of the sentences above follow the same rule. After the preposition (of, in, by, about, etc), all of the sentences above take the verb + ing form. ‘To’ is also a preposition. So ‘look forward to’ and ‘looking forward to’ also must be followed by the verb + ing.

Try saying the sentences above without the ‘ing’ form. They should sound strange this way. If they sound normal to you, then you need to hang out with smarter people. 😅

I hope this helps you understand more about this common expression in English and the mistakes you can make without realising it!
If you found this helpful, you’re going to LOVE my new English Elevator program. This is one of the things we discuss in our first masterclass! I will show you so many ways to use grammar correctly so that you can eliminate your mistakes and finally speak and write with confidence!

You can find out more here. Space is limited, and I wouldn’t want you to miss out!
Or…you can keep on making mistakes without even realising it!

Talk to you next week!