• My Vote For Infinitives


Anaphoric ‘to’

Infinitives in a sentence may be needed to repeat in the next part of the sentence. But without using the verb, noun or adjective, we can simply use the particle ‘to’ to mention the preceding verb. This is called anaphoric ‘to’.


It is very difficult to read for many hours, but I have to

In this sentence, to read is the infinitive and the next part also means the same, to read. But we use only ‘to’ without repeating the verb read.

Thus, the above sentence can be rewriten as :

It is very difficult to read for many hours, but I have to read


She does not love him but she pretends to
I went to the theatre in spite of my parents advice not to

(The anaphoric is used when the same infinitve is to be repeated)

Passive Infinitive

The infinitive forms can have passive voice too.


Active Voice InfinitivePassive Voice Infinitive
I wanted to meet him.I wanted him to be met
I don’t know how to handle the problemI don’t know how the problem is to be handled
I allow him to do the workI allow the work to be done by him

Perfect Infinitive

The perfect infinitive is formed with to + have + past participle. This generally refers to an action that was completed before.


He is expected to have finished his work yesterday itself
To have half done the work by ourselves is better than to have asked the fool to do it

Infinitive and Time reference

An infinitive does not give us a clear idea about the time of action. It mainly depends on the main verb of the sentence or it depends on the special finite to give a time reference.


He is very happy to receive the award (The verb is gives us the present time reference)
He was very happy to receive the award. (The verb was gives us the past time reference)
He will be happy to receive the award. (The verb will be gives us the future time reference)
He wants to receive the award. (The main verb is in present, and so it gives present time reference)

Learning Competency

Modal auxiliaries Vs Primary auxiliaries
Primary auxiliaries are be, do, have. They are used to form tenses and to frame short answers.
Modal auxiliaries are will, would, may, might, shall, should, can, could, must, dare, need, used, ought. They are used to express moods.