‘a piecemeal approach to dealing/deal with the problem’

This is an example from OALD:

a piecemeal approach to dealing with the problem

I think that in “to dealing”, ‘to’ is a preposition, and that if we change it to

a piecemeal approach to deal with the problem

‘to’ is no more a preposition. I’d like to know if the second sentence is grammatical, and, if so, what it may mean.

Answer

Your assumption of ‘to’ no longer being a preposition is correct.

When you use an infinitive verb, ‘to’ is a part of that verb. In this case it is not acting as a preposition. On the other hand ‘to’ + verb + ‘ing’ would be a gerund wherein ‘to’ is indeed a preposition.

Both sentences are grammatically correct though and semantically identical (they mean the same thing). Using the infinitive verb is done when we need to present the purpose or the intention of an action. You can memorize it as a simpler way to write “in order to” + verb.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Community , Answer Author : Levyce

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