Learn English – Gerund or infinitive in : “… but to do that” vs. “… but doing that”

gerundsinfinitives

What is correct form in between these sentences:

He had no choice but doing that

or

He had no choice but to do that.

When I googled "but doing that" I found 388,000 results, whereas "but to do that" Google produced 6,500,000 results. Can someone please explain why the latter seems more correct?

Best Answer

This will probably be easier to think about if we first realize that the example sentences have some understood words. If we insert the understood words the sentences become:

He had no choice but (the choice) doing that.

He had no choice but (the choice) to do that.

After inserting the understood words, I don't imagine it requires much further explanation as to why sentence #1 above doesn't work. You could say:

He had no choice but (the choice) of doing that.

He had no choice but of doing that.

By the way, I put:

  1. "no choice but doing that" into Google and got very few results;
  2. "no choice but to do that" and got 640k results;
  3. "no choice but of doing that" and got 29.4m results.

I found that a little surprising.

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