In this lesson, you are going to know all the things related to the infinitive verb like what is an infinitive verb, when, and how the infinitive verb is used in a sentence.
What is an infinitive verb?
A verb that is ‘to+basic form of the verb’, though for some few verbs ‘to’ remains implied and not explicitly used before them, is called an infinitive verb.
That is to say, when a verb will be an infinitive, there should have a ‘to’ before it, expressed or implied because this ‘to’ is an integral part of the infinitive verb. It should never be considered as a preposition in this case.
Note: When we talk about the infinitive, we generally mean to the present infinitive, that is ‘to+verb’, which is the most common. In addition to this one, there are four other forms of infinitives. They are:
- The perfect infinitive
- The perfect continuous infinitive
- The continuous infinitive
- The passive infinitive
However, in this lesson, we will only learn about an infinitive that is formed with the ‘to+basic form of the verb’.
What is the difference between an infinitive verb and a base verb?
- An infinitive is ‘to + base form/basic form of the verb’. On the other hand, a base verb is just a verb without ‘to’.
- A base form of a verb can have a subject of its own, and it has the ability to form different tenses changing its form and having an auxiliary before it. An infinitive can never have a subject of its own and it cannot change its form and cannot take an auxiliary before it.
- When a base verb is used having a third person singular number as its subject in the present indefinite tense, it takes ‘s/es’ at its end. An infinitive has not to be changed with the change of the subject or tense.
- I want to study English grammar. [In this sentence ‘want’ is a base verb, and ‘to study’ is an infinitive.]
- He wants to study English grammar.[In this sentence ‘want’ is a base verb, ‘s’ has been added for the subject is third person singular number, and ‘to study’ is an infinitive.]
- He wanted to study English grammar. [In this sentence ‘want’ is a base verb, ‘ed’ has been added to make this sentence a past, and as usual ‘to study’ is an infinitive.]
What is ‘bare infinitive’?
The word ‘to’ is the marker of an infinitive verb. When an infinitive verb is used without the marker ‘to’, it is called a bare Infinitive.
There are some verbs after which if an infinitive verb is used, that infinitive verb will be used without ‘to’. Those verbs are:
- Please, see, let, make, know, feel, hear, dare, bid, need, watch, notice, bade, etc.
- He made me go there in the sun.
- Did you hear him sing a lovely song?
- He will let me learn English grammar.
- They saw him cross the road.
- I dared not say anything to my face.
- The teacher bade me to there.
- Students need not come to school during Covid time.
But when these verbs are used in the passive form, ‘to’ is used, except the verb ‘let’.
- He was seen to go home. –
- I was made to sing a song.
- He was heard to say so.
- They were let go wherever they liked.
2. After the anomalous finite verbs, such as, should / should, will / would, can / could, may / might, must, had better, had rather, would rather, etc. the infinitive sign ‘to’ remains implied, that is ‘to’ is not used.
- Flora can write and speak English correctly.
- I shall buy a new mobile phone.
- You must learn English.
- They might help you with whatever they can.
- You may go now.
- You will find some beautiful pens in that box.
- He had better go there earlier.
- You had rather/would rather help me.
- I would rather play cricket than work.
- I should tell him what happened that day.
- You should come to school in time.
- He might wait here to talk to you.
– 8 Uses of Infinitive verbs:
- As the subject of a sentence
- After the transitive verb
- As the object complement
- To explain the purpose or intent of any work
- After ‘be’ verb + adjective + to-infinitive
- In case of any comment
- too + adjective + infinitive
- adjective + enough + infinitive
1. – As the subject of a verb:
To-infinitive verb can act as a noun, and so it has the quality of a subject of a sentence.
- To learn English is not that easy. [Here ‘to learn’ is an infinitive and the subject of the sentence.]
- To be a pilot is the aim of my life. [Here ‘to be’ is an infinitive and the subject of the sentence.]
- To get a good job is a difficult task. [Here ‘to get’ is an infinitive and the subject of the sentence.]
2. – As the object of a verb:
To-infinitive can be used after a transitive verb and thus it acts as an object of the transitive verb.
- I love to read.
- They want to learn English.
- I decided to write poems.
3. – As the object complement:
To-infinitive is used as the object complement of an object.
- My mother is teaching me to speak Hindi. [Here ‘me’ is the object of the verb ‘teaching’, and ‘to speak’ is the complement of the object ‘me’.]
4. – To explain the purpose or intent of any work:
To-infinitive is used to denote the purpose or intention of an action.
- He is learning the rules to speak English.
- William decided to change the school for better education.
- Mark has gone to the dentist to check up on his teeth.
5. – After be verb + adjective + to-infinitive:
An infinitive is used in this structure: It + be + adjective + to-infinitive (for someone) + extension.
- It’s great to talk to you.
- It is difficult for me to lift this box alone.
- It is not easy to finish the assignment in a day.
6. – In case of any comment:
In the case of a comment about a person or a thing, an infinitive is used in this structure. Subject + to be + noun phrase + to-infinitive.
- This is the right person to speak for my problem.
- It is the proper place to visit.
- It was the right subject for him to study.
7. – too + adjective + infinitive:
To-infinitive is used after ‘too + adjective’, to mean that it is not possible to do the work mentioned in the infinitive.
- William is too busy to talk to me.
- The luggage is too heavy to carry.
- The coffee is too hot to drink.
8. – adjective + enough + infinitive:
To-infinitive is used in this structure to mean that it is possible to do the job/work mentioned in the adjective.
- William is strong enough to carry the load.
- My teacher is kind enough to show me the right path.
- This is morning, but the sun is bright enough to go out for work.
– Examples of verbs followed by infinitives:
Now to have a better grasp of using infinitives, we will get ourselves familiar with some verbs which are followed by infinitives.
- afford – His parents could not afford to bear the expenses of his education.
- agree – My friend agreed to teach me English.
- aim – I aim to be a doctor in the future.
- appear – He appears to be my school friend.
- arrange – I will arrange to reach him out.
- attempt – My students took several attempts to contact me.
- ask – I asked him to come to my house.
- begin – He began to sing a song.
- beg – He begged to get a job at my company.
- care – Would you care to learn English with me?
- choose –I always choose to get up early in the morning.
- claim – William claimed to have a website of his own.
- dare – Do you dare to tell me that?
- decide –I decided to prosecute my higher studies in medicine.
- demand – I demand to get help from you.
- deserve – He deserves to have a good education.
- determined – I am determined to learn to speak English.
- expect – I expect him to come in time.
- fail – He failed to have the sympathy of his teachers.
- happen – I happened to meet him at the train station.
- help – This book will help you to learn English.
- hesitate – He often hesitates to finish his lesson in time.
- hope – He hopes to find a good job this year.
- hurry – He hurried to get to the office.
- intend – He intended to study medicine.
- learn – Students are learning to speak English.
- like – Everybody likes to get rich.
- manage – He somehow managed to get a good job.
- mean – I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.
- need – You need to work hard to get success in life.
- neglect – The authority neglected to provide help and support.
- offer – Willian offered to help me find a good job.
- plan – I am planning to visit India soon.
- prepare – Students are preparing to play cricket.
- pretend – He was pretending to cry.
- proceed – They proceeded to fulfill their plan.
- promise – He promised to help me learn English.
- refuse – He refused to take the money.
- resolve – He has resolved never to fight again.
- remember – I remember to bring him a pair of shoes.
- seem – Something seems to be wrong with you.
- start – The child started to cry for a toy.
- struggle – We struggle to live peacefully in the world.
- swear – The criminal swore to tell the truth.
- tend – We all tend to visit new places.
- threaten – The cricket team threatened to stop playing.
- try – He is trying to learn how to swim.
- volunteer – Our English teacher volunteered to lead us to visit historical places.
- vow – We vowed to love our parents, teachers, and elders.
- want – My friend wanted to have a cup of coffee.
- wish – I wish to participate in the competition.
- wait – I waited to hear the result of the test.
- would hate – I would hate to be in his service.
- would like – I would like to have a cup of tea.
- would love – I would love to sing a song myself.
- would prefer – I would prefer to be a doctor.
– Examples of adjectives followed by infinitives:
The followings are the adjectives that are often followed by infinitives. Learn them and use them in your writing and speaking.
- able – I am able to do the job.
- afraid – I am afraid to go there.
- amazed – I am amazed to see the beauty of this place.
- amusing – It is amusing to read the poems of Shakespeare.
- angry – He became angry to see me.
- anxious – I am anxious to visit India.
- ashamed – I feel ashamed to send him a mail.
- astonished – William became astonished to see the beauty of the Taj Mahal.
- bound – You are bound to speak English when you are in the UK.
- careful – Be careful not to overstep the limits.
- certain – William is certain to get to the party in time.
- crazy – He has been crazy to get a good job.
- curious – I am curious to know who won the match.
- delighted – I am delighted to see you after a long period of time.
- determined – My students are determined not to waste time.
- eager – I am eager to talk to my parents.
- easy – It is not that easy to learn English.
- excited – Students are excited to get their test results.
- fortunate – He is fortunate to get a job abroad.
- free – Now I am completely free to talk to you.
- glad – His parents are glad to see the performance of their son.
- happy – I am happy to help you learn English.
- hard – It is hard to speak like a native speaker.
- hesitant – He was hesitant to speak the truth.
- inclined – They become more inclined to hang out than to study.
- keen – My students are keen to learn English with me.
- kind – He was so kind to help me.
- likely – He is likely to come today.
- nice – It is nice to see you again.
- pleasant – My English teacher’s lecture in the class is always pleasant to follow.
- pleased – I am pleased to know that you have got a baby.
- prepared – We are completely prepared to take the test. –
- proud – We are proud to tell you that our team won the match.
- qualified – I am not qualified to give you any advice.
- quick – He was very quick to respond to my question.
- ready – We are all ready to go with you.
- right – He has no right to tell me that.
- sad – I am very sad to know that your dog died.
- safe – It is not safe to stay any longer. –
- shocked – I am shocked to know that our leader is no more.
- slow – He is very slow to do the work.
- surprised – I am surprised to see the beauty of this mountain.
- thrilled – We3 are thrilled to get this kind of surprise from you.
- wise – It is not wise to go there.
- sorry – I am sorry to inform you that the actor will not come today.