Last Updated : 28 Jan 2014

THE INFINITIVE

Definition:
Infinitive are non-finite verbs. Infinitive is formed by adding to with a verb that acts as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb in a sentence

When a verb is in its infinitive state, it has no subject or object. It is used to define the action of the verb without tying it to a specific person. It is a verb acting without a subject. The infinitive is the verb in its purest form. An infinitive should be treated as a single word with a single meaning.

List of Infinitive Verbs

Infinitives in Regular Verbs

e.g.

To answer To arrive To ask To dry
To carry To clean To close To enjoy
To finish To hate To help To hope
To invite To listen To locate To look
To love To need To prefer To rain
To receive To remember To repair To repeat
To request To smoke To start To stay
To study To suggest To talk To try
To use To visit To wait To walk
To want To wash To watch To wish
To work To believe To join To reform
To express To catch To consult To present
To respect To fit To knowledge To disscuss

e.g.

They were the first to arrive, were not they?
I have to finish this book before march
Do not hesitate to help her
They refuse to talk
Infinitives in Iregular Verbs

e.g.

To begin To buy To build To come
To bring To cut To do To drink
To drive To eat To fall To feel
To find To forget To get To give
To go To have To hear To keep
To know To learn To leave To lend
To lose To make To meet To pay
To put To read To run To say
To see To sell To send To shut
To sing To sit To sleep To speak
To spend To stand up To swimTo take
To teach To tell To think To shine
To understand To wear To write

e.g.

We have to eat that we may live
I tried to speak English
I do not know how to sing
It seems it is easy to learn English
What is a split infinitive?

Inserting a word or phrase between to and the verb creates a split infinitive

e.g.

Before the game, the team was told to warm up by running around the field.
What is an infinitive phrase?

A phrase beginning with the infinitive form of a verb that functions as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb in a sentence.

e.g.

Cena likes to swim and to fish
Cena likes to swim and fish

Other uses of Infinitives

To express purpose or reason

e.g.

I accepted him to go to the park
I wanted to buy vegetables in the market
Adjective + Infinitive

e.g.

The concept is easy to understand
English is interesting to read
Noun or Pronoun + infinitive

e.g.

He asked my brother to stop smoking
My parents asked my friend to read well for the examinations
Too + Adjective + Infinitive

e.g.

The coffee is too hot to drink
The man is too bulky to enter the room
Infinitive can be used to replace a clause

e.g.

I know how I can solve the problemI know how to solve the problem

Generally verbs take to with them to make an infinitive but some verbs become infinitve without to. These are also called bare infinitive or plain infinitive.

e.g.

I made him goLet him go
I saw him cross the railway trackThe minister helped abolish poverty

The above verbs can take ‘to’ when it is used in the passive voice.

e.g.

He was made to go by himHe was seen to cross the railway track

The modal auxiliaries do not take to infinitive.

He will pay the billI can speak English
You should work harderYou must come to the office at nine
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