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An interesting preposition

Q: I am helping a friend translate a letter from Italian into English. He wants to use the English phrase “interested to do,” but I told him the proper construction is “interested in doing.” He said he did a Google search and found more hits for “interested to” than “interested in.” Would you offer your opinion?

A: The standard construction is “interested in” followed by a gerund, like “doing.” We show an interest in something, not to it. (There’s a very handy book, Words Into Type, that has a long list of verbs together with the prepositions they usually take.)

It’s true that in casual speech many people say things like “I was interested to hear such and such,” but this wouldn’t be acceptable in formal writing.

By the way, I did my own googling and found just over 2 million hits for “interested to” and 346 million hits for “interested in.” It looks as if the ins have it by a wide margin.

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