Using Look Forward To with example sentences

Do you really know how to use the phrase look forward to? Because of the word "to", some English users tend to use infinitives (present tense verbs) just after "to". The following example sentences show the incorrect usage of the phrase look forward to.
We look forward to hear from our business associate.
Mr Peterson looks forward to meet with his new customer.

Well, can you detect the error in each of these two example sentences?

When you use the phrase look forward to, you are indicating that you are anxious or eager to do something in the near future. When this phrase is used, the description that follows immediately after the word to must be a noun or a noun phrase. It must not be a verb. In the example sentences, you can see the verbs hear, meet after to. The correct version should be:
We look forward to hearing from our business associate.
Mr Peterson looks forward to meeting with his new customer.

Some English users think that it is correct to use verbs after the phrase look forward to, but it is not. The phrase look forward to must always be followed by a noun or a noun phrase. You can say you look forward to something.

For example: Imagine you are extremely hungry now, and you know your mum is roasting your favorite turkey. You can say this to your mum: I really look forward to the yummy turkey. Note that the phrase "the turkey" is a noun phrase as turkey is a noun.

You may want to include the verb "eat". In this case, you need to add "ing" to the verb "eat" to make it "eating" and use it as a gerund/verbal noun together with the phrase "the yummy turkey" like this:

I really look forward to eating the yummy turkey. Therefore, you can see that "I really look forward to the yummy turkey" has the same meaning as "I really look forward to eating the yummy turkey".

Just remember that when using the phrase look forward to, use the verbing form of verbs, such as offering, meeting, hearing, etc.

For examples:
We look forward to offering our best services to our new customers.
(incorrect to say look forward to offer................)
Sharon looks forward to meeting with her new friends.
(incorrect to say looks forward to meet..............)
The office manager told his secretary to conclude the business letter with the sentence "I look forward to hearing from you".
(incorrect to say look forward to hear.................) From the above three sentence examples, offering our best services to our new customers/meeting with her new friends/hearing from you are noun phrases.

If you are still doubtful, try to replace look forward to with "used to". Do you say you are used to wearing shoes or you are used to wear shoes? You'll surely say "used to wearing shoes", right? Therefore, the same goes for the phrase look forward to! You can say "I look forward to wearing my brand new shoes", but you don't say "I look forward to wear my brand new shoes!".

Well, English users, I hope you've understood my explanation on the usage of look forward to and will apply this phrase correctly in your English sentences.

If you would like to see more common errors, click on "Common Errors".


By Susan L
On 12/19/2009 01:14:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 05, 2010 7:24:00 AM

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