Verb form after want



I've found that "want" can be followed by two types of structures:

1. I don't want you (to) worry.
2. I don't want you worrying about it.

When do we use "to" and when do we use an "-ing form" after "want"?

J Hu
Posted 03 December 2001


What an interesting question!

I see a parallel in the following:

I want you (to be) happy and safe.
I want her (to be) arrested.
I want him (to be) living on his own in his own apartment.

It appears that "worrying" in your example is a present participle (not a gerund) derived from a progressive infinitive with "to be" omitted, as is often done in elliptical phrases.

I don't know if other verbs follow this pattern - can anyone think of others?

Betty Azar


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