majlo

"I look forward to hearing from you" vs "I'm looking forward to hearing from you."

Hello,The following is about "I look forward to hearing from you." and "I'm looking forward to hearing from you." and its differences.How would you opine on that? Do you agree or not?"Actually, the register has nothing to do with it! The difference is how the speaker perceives their own words: an action seen as a whole/accomplished (I look forward...) or continuing (I am looking...). Unless very self-aware or possibly an English teacher, an ordinary native speaker will be unable to explain their choice between the two and so the difference between a mental impression (I look forward) and a mental activity (I'm looking forward). In such cases, attempting to explain these subtleties to your students may prove counterproductive, unless of course they're advanced enough to handle it. It is my policy, that until then they're perfectly fine knowing there is no real difference there." 

25 answers
JamesM updated 11 December
I disagree. That may be Olivaise's personal experience but I wouldn't generalize it to all people. I would not write "I'm looking forward to your reply" in a business letter. I would write in a personal letter. I would not write "I look forward to your reply" in a personal letter; it would sound legalistic and cold, in my opinion. I would write it in a business letter as a standard formulaic closing. 
SandroIlSardo updated 11 December
Hi WR, if writing to a friend, can I change the last part of the sentence with another expression? I mean: "I'm looking forward to getting your next letter" instead of "I'm looking forward to hearing from you" ? Thanks Alessandro 
Joelline updated 11 December
I agree completely with JamesM: the usage is governed solely by context. "I look forward to hearing from you" is a business-context formula to me; I would not use it in another context. In fact, in personal letter or email, I would go out of my way to change the wording somewhat ("I'm hoping I hear from you before I leave for vacation" or, more informally, "Hope to hear from you...") to distance the expression from the formula. 
Loob updated 11 December
I vote with those who say "I look forward to" is businesslike, unemotional, formal "I'm looking forward to" is friendly, warm, less formal. Loob 
Olivaise updated 11 December
LV4-26 said:↑
If you used "I look forward" in one sentence and "I'm looking forward" in the next, I bet no English speaker would even be aware of the change.Therefore, I agree with the quoted text.Click to expand...
I thought it over and I came to a realization after talking to my friends about it too. As myself, they seem to say, "I look forward..." to close friends and family, while the other to strangers or those people that are not so close.Simply a meager observation. I'm still unsure about it. 
JamesM updated 11 December
I don't know that "mental impression" and "mental activity" is a valid distinction between the two. To me, "I look forward to your reply" is a set phrase at the end of a letter that means "the next action is yours, and I am operating under the impression that you will take it." (Maybe that's what is meant by "mental impression".) "I'm looking forward to your reply" is an expression of something you actually feel - a sense of anticipation about their response. I would not use "I look forward to your reply" in any setting other than a formal letter. It has a distinct meaning that has nothing to do with feelings, in my opinion. 
JamesM updated 11 December
If it's informal, you could write, "Can't wait to hear from you" or "I'll be checking my mailbox/inbox each day for your next letter/email" or simply "Write soon!" 
Forero updated 11 December
JamesM said:↑
I disagree. That may be Olivaise's personal experience but I wouldn't generalize it to all people. I would not write "I'm looking forward to your reply" in a business letter. I would write in a personal letter. I would not write "I look forward to your reply" in a personal letter; it would sound legalistic and cold, in my opinion. I would write it in a business letter as a standard formulaic closing.Click to expand...
I think it sounds cold because it does not clearly express actual feelings."I look forward to <something>" says either that I expect it or that I have a habit of looking forward to it. The meaning is diffuse and distanced from immediate feelings.But "I am looking forward to <something>" says that I am anticipating it with gladness. The feelings are up front and personal. 
sarahjuanita updated 11 December
I agree with Loob. 'looking forward' definitely sounds more friendly and informal to me. I couldn't imagine saying to any of my friends - 'I look forward to your party this weekend' - and I think if I did they may well think I wasn't being very sincere! 
Colonel_Potato updated 11 December
Majlo said:↑
Hello,The following is about [SNIP]Click to expand...
I know I'm eight years late to this thread, but here's what I think.I feel as though "I look forward to <topic>" is more formal than "I am looking forward to <topic>", but I would rather hear the latter while reading a business letter. It feels more warm and friendly; it feels more as though I'm communicating with an actual human. Just dropping five letters from the sentence ("am" and "ing") causes it to lose meaning, and it feels more cold and stiff.Remember, these are just my opinions. There isn't an actual difference, which I'm aware of, between the two in the English language. 
argentina84 updated 11 December
Olivaise said:↑
I thought it over and I came to a realization after talking to my friends about it too. As myself, they seem to say, "I look forward..." to close friends and family, while the other to strangers or those people that are not so close. Simply a meager observation. I'm still unsure about it.Click to expand...
So it should be the other way around? That is: look forward to: informallooking forward to: formal Thanks! 
SandroIlSardo updated 11 December
Thanks Thomas It helps 
Tabac updated 11 December
Majlo said:↑
Hello,The following is about "I look forward to hearing from you." and "I'm looking forward to hearing from you." and its differences. How would you opine on that? Do you agree or not? "Actually, the register has nothing to do with it! The difference is how the speaker perceives their own words: an action seen as a whole/accomplished (I look forward...) or continuing (I am looking...). Unless very self-aware or possibly an English teacher, an ordinary native speaker will be unable to explain their choice between the two and so the difference between a mental impression (I look forward) and a mental activity (I'm looking forward). In such cases, attempting to explain these subtleties to your students may prove counterproductive, unless of course they're advanced enough to handle it. It is my policy, that until then they're perfectly fine knowing there is no real difference there."Click to expand...
It might well prove to be counterproductive to attempt to explain these subtleties to a native speaker, such as myself. I see no difference. 
camaysar updated 11 December
To add another aspect: If I want to sound informal, I would not say or write "I am looking forward to hearing from you" but always "I'm ...". This is not an issue of correct usage, just a matter of convention. "I'm" sounds personal, less formal, and this is in keeping with the view that "I'm looking forward..." is less formal than "I look forward...." If I used "I am looking forward..." it would still sound formal, compared to "I'm looking forward....", but less formal than "I look forward". But this is obvious... contractions are less formal. 
HELLAL updated 11 December
I think. I am looking forward to hearing from you is stronger than I look forward to hearing from you.Thanks 
argentina84 updated 11 December
Oh! Look what I have found here! I had been taught that "look forward to" was formal register and that "looking forward to" was the informal one! 
Olivaise updated 11 December
JamesM said:↑
I disagree. That may be Olivaise's personal experience but I wouldn't generalize it to all people. I would not write "I'm looking forward to your reply" in a business letter. I would write in a personal letter. I would not write "I look forward to your reply" in a personal letter; it would sound legalistic and cold, in my opinion. I would write it in a business letter as a standard formulaic closing.Click to expand...
I guess this a fairly subjective topic, so one is unable to truly stereotype it. 
LV4-26 updated 11 December
If you used "I look forward" in one sentence and "I'm looking forward" in the next, I bet no English speaker would even be aware of the change.Therefore, I agree with the quoted text. 
Olivaise updated 11 December
Argentina84 said:↑
So it should be the other way around? That is: look forward to: informallooking forward to: formal Thanks!Click to expand...
Well, don't ever quote me verbatim. I mean, it's more of context that insinuates which one will be used. I just found that amongst my friends that those results were prominent.Sorry for any misunderstanding. 
Olivaise updated 11 December
Sarahjuanita said:↑
I agree with Loob. 'looking forward' definitely sounds more friendly and informal to me. I couldn't imagine saying to any of my friends - 'I look forward to your party this weekend' - and I think if I did they may well think I wasn't being very sincere!Click to expand...
I really couldn't see myself saying that at all. My comment would be more along the lines of, "I'm pumped/ready/excited/ecstatic for this weekend."Or something that fits into that colloquial genre. 
SandroIlSardo updated 11 December
I would like to add another quick thing: What do you use instead of I'm looking forward to hearing from you? Something unusual will be nice! 
bulilia updated 22 December
Not sure but tend to agree with those who consider 'I look forward to hearing from you' as a more formal expression with no trace of personal attitude.
Man updated 25 January
Here is one more opinion: The word “to” in this phrase is slightly confusing because it is usually used to introduce a verb, as in “want to” or “have to”. Even though saying “I want to hear from you” is completely correct, “to look forward to” employs a different pattern: I look forward to [a thing you would like to happen] Obviously, “hear” is not a thing, so it wouldn’t make much sense to “look forward to hear from you”. The thing you are looking forward to is “hearing from you”: I look forward to hearing from you. (correct) I look forward to hear from you. (wrong) As for the question whether to use “I look forward to” or “I am looking forward to”, some people consider the two completely interchangeable, but most find the phrase with “look forward to” somewhat formal and best suited for formal correspondence, whereas “to be looking forward to” is more informal and friendly: I look forward to hearing from you. (correct in formal writing) I am looking forward to hearing from you. (correct in an informal context) This article was based on my guide to the most common mistakes in English, which explains many similar topics. Why don’t you check it out?
Daniel updated 2 February
I like these answers: 1. I look forward to hearing from you. Both forms are grammatically correct, but the above is the more frequent and the most socially acceptable formal one. And it is also the default phraseology in Pitman's secretarial training. 2. The correct form is: "Looking forward to hearing from you." The reason is that "to" in this construction is a preposition, and since it is a preposition, it should be followed by an object. The object of a preposition can be either a noun, a pronoun, or a gerund (VERB+ing functioning as a noun). To test this explanation, you can try replacing "hearing" with some noun—for example, "Looking forward to the party" or "Looking forward to your reply." If we use "to hear" we are using an infinitive (to + VERB), and "to" is therefore part of the infinitive, like this: Looking forward {to hear} from you. However, our two example sentences with nouns shows us that "to" is a preposition, not part of an infinitive. We look forward to something. So, now that we know that "to" in the phrase "look forward to" is a preposition, we can conclude that the preposition "to" should be followed by the gerund "hearing"—or any other gerund (such as "meeting," or "doing," or "seeing")—but not by the form of the verb without "-ing."
John updated 18 days ago
This one is a very old question that never loses it’s popularity, by the looks of it. There can be a lot of arguments that touch the subject only a small bit. But here’s the thing: both “I look forward to hearing from you” (Option 1) and “I’m looking forward to hearing from you”(Option 2) are completely correct. Let’s dive into it a bit deeper. It is very important to memorize that “to” in both options is not a part of infinitive phrase. It is a component of “looking forward to” phrasal verb what exists in English language along with hundreds of others. If you manage to get used to understanding it correctly, then no questions about grammar logic would appear. Now the main part: Option 1 should be used while writing a formal (business) letter, with all its officiality. Option 2 is correct, but would only work for informal letter (let’s say to a penfriend). These simple rules are very easy to follow and don’t require any mythical “advancement”. Therefore I would most definitely disagree with the author of the provided quotation.
Leave a reply