23 Ene Look forward to hearING from you!
Shouldn’t we look forward to HEAR from someone?
Ending an email with “I look forward to hearING from you” is very effective because it reminds your correspondent that you are expecting a reply, but it is also a very polite and standard closing remark.
Why do we writing “hearING”, which is a gerund (ends with “ing”) and not “hear” in this phrase? After all, we normally see “to” as part of the infinitive form of a verb (“to hear” and “to see”).
The reason is related to a little known rule in English: when a preposition is followed by a verb, the verb must be in its gerund form (ending with “ing”). This is obvious in the sentence: “After eatING, I went to bed“. It certainly wouldn’t sound correct to say: “After to eat, I went to bed”. We say eatING here because “after” is a preposition, so the following verb has to be a gerund (with the “ing” ending).
In the same way, the phrase “to look forward to” ends with the preposition “to”, so the following verb is in its gerund form. This is why we look forward to seeING someone or to hearING from them.
There are just a few phrases in English where the final “to” is actually a preposition and not part of the infinitive. In addition to “look forward to”, some common examples are:
- to be used to (doING something)
- to object to (gettING up early).
Most of the time when you see “to” before a verb, it will in fact be part of the infinitive. We say: “I need to go”, “she decided to stay”, “he wants to come” etc. It is just the three phrases mentioned above, plus a few more less common ones, where “to” is a preposition and must be followed by a gerund.