What is an Infinitive Verb? 8 Uses of Infinitive Verbs and Examples


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:

  1. The perfect infinitive
  2. The perfect continuous infinitive
  3. The continuous infinitive
  4. 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.]
Infinitive verb

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:

  1. 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:

  1. As the subject of a sentence
  2. After the transitive verb
  3. As the object complement
  4. To explain the purpose or intent of any work
  5. After ‘be’ verb + adjective + to-infinitive
  6. In case of any comment
  7. too + adjective + infinitive
  8. 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.

Rezaul Karim

Hi, my name is Rezaul Karim. I am an English teacher and founder of LearnEnglishWithRezaul.com. I work with non-native English learners to help them understand English grammar from basic to intermediate. I also help them improve their conversation skills, and communication ability and reduce their accent. I hope you may like my posts on this website, and if you really really feel that this page/website is useful for English learners, please happily share it for others to know.

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