Skip to main content

See here:

The world is aflame with popular uprisings, not least the United States. This careful study of the variety of recent movements, of how movements gain public support and the pitfalls and barriers they face, provides a very valuable guide to those committed to changing the world—a critical necessity today.

The person who wrote this is Noam Chomsky; he's a famous linguist, and he originally had "change" instead of "changing", so I replaced "change" with "changing", but I'm not sure what the deal is with this construction.

It sounds super weird to say "change", but he obviously knows a lot about syntax and I don't think that it was a typo.

I asked a different linguist and they said that "change" isn't syntactically wrong but that "changing" is much better to use.

Last edited by Andrew Van Wagner
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Hi, Andrew,

See here:

The world is aflame with popular uprisings, not least the United States. This careful study of the variety of recent movements, of how movements gain public support and the pitfalls and barriers they face, provides a very valuable guide to those committed to changing the world—a critical necessity today.

The person who wrote this is Noam Chomsky; he's a famous linguist, and he originally had "change" instead of "changing", so I replaced "change" with "changing", but I'm not sure what the deal is with this construction.

It sounds super weird to say "change", but he obviously knows a lot about syntax and I don't think that it was a typo.

I asked a different linguist and they said that "change" isn't syntactically wrong but that "changing" is much better to use.

Both are OK. However, using 'to' as a preposition followed by an '-ing' form sounds more popular than using the infinitive form. 'LDOCE' has both forms here:

https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/commit

It uses 'commit to do something' to mean 'to promise to do something that will take a long time or involve a lot of effort.'

• The organization needs volunteers who can commit to work four hours a week.

Rachel, our late moderator, commented on this topic here:

https://thegrammarexchange.inf...opic/be-committed-to

Last edited by ahmed_btm
@ahmed_btm posted:


It uses 'commit to do something' to mean 'to promise to do something that will take a long time or involve a lot of effort.'

• The organization needs volunteers who can commit to work four hours a week.



To follow up on this good usage note that Ahmed has provided, it's interesting to look at the noun "commitment" and how it is complemented. While it is certainly possible and common for "commitment" to be followed by "to [V-ing]," it is sometimes followed by "to [V]" instead.

This is especially true in the collocation "make a commitment to," which signifies the making of promise. In speaking of "those committed to change the world," Chomsky may be said to be referring to those who have made a commitment to change the world.

Add Reply

×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×