In writing, especially in formal writing, you will often use the clause I am looking forward to meeting you to end conversations in a pleasant way. Its usage is so common that you probably don’t think about it too much, but something always seems a bit off, doesn’t it? That feeling you get is due to the use of transitive verbs and gerunds.
Transitive Verbs and Gerunds
Transitive verbs are verbs that require an object to express a complete sentence. Objects can be nouns or pronouns.
I beg of you, don’t buy rusty nails again. ✔
I beg of you, don’t buy again. ✘
As you can see, if you don’t have an object after buy, the sentence makes no sense. Looking forward to functions the same – it requires an object. Now, the problem is that meeting is not a noun or a pronoun, so it can’t function as an object, right? Which would make the clause grammatically incorrect.
Well, no. That is why knowing the definition of gerunds is important. Gerund is a verb form that has the function of a noun. It ends in ing. They are often called verbal nouns.
Fishing is the best hobby in the world. ✔
Nah, I prefer procrastinating. ✔
In our sentences fishing and procrastinating are gerunds, and meeting is the same. This means that you can use as an object and the sentence is grammatically correct, thus:
I am looking forward to meeting you. ✔
To + infinitive
Another reason why the phrase I am looking forward to meeting you might trip you up is because of the use of to + meeting. As it has been drilled into all of our heads, to always goes with an infinitive.
I am planning to eat as much watermelon as I can before winter comes. ✔
I am planning to eating as much watermelon as I can before winter comes. ✘
This rule is absolutely correct, but, as was explained above, meeting is not a verb in this case and consequently doesn’t need to be in the infinitive form.
The Abridged Version
The clause I am looking forward to meeting you is definitely grammatically correct. For that matter, it is stylistically fine too. The only reason why it seems incorrect is because meeting, in this case, is not a verb, but gerund.
We are looking forward to answering any other questions you may have.