What are infinitives?
Definition: The basic form of the verb without s, es, or ies which can function as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs is called the infinitive. Infinitives are different from the main verb. It follows another main verb in the sentence. Like: I want to speak English. The main verb of the sentence is ‘want’ and the infinitive is ‘to speak’. So infinitive alone cannot give meaning to the sentence.
- I have a pen to write with.
- We use a knife to cut things.
- She wants to be an engineer.
- The teacher wanted to teach English.
Infinitive does not show the action in the sentence like the main verb.
For example, I like to speak. In this sentence ‘like’ is the main verb o the sentence which shows action, but ‘to speak’ is an infinitive that works as a noun. But if removing the main verb from sentences the sentence won’t give any meaning. Like I to speak. Rather than, if we say ‘I spoke today. So in this sentence spoke works as the main verb of the sentence.
There are two kinds of infinitives.
- Full infinitive: When we add to with the base form of the verb (to + 1st verb) becomes full infinitive. Most of the verbs are used with infinitives to show purpose and intention.
- I like to speak English.
- I want to be a doctor.
- She tried to reach me.
- They struggle to become winners.
2. Bare infinitive (zero infinitives): A base form of the verb without ‘to’ is called a bare infinitive. There are limited verbs that follow bare infinitives.
Let, have, make, do, modal auxiliaries verbs, the verb of perception.
|Example within sentence.||Verbs That take bare infinitives.|
|I may find him||Modal auxiliary|
|I can make a cake.||Verb|
|She could win the game.||Modal auxiliary|
|They would be on time.||‘Be form’ of the verb|
|It might be raining.||‘Be form’ of the verb|
|They might be late tonight.||‘Be form’ of the verb|
|I heard him open the door||The verb of perception.|
Usages of the infinitive:
There are many usages of infinitives which are illustrated very well below. Have a look!
- Verb + infinitive:
This is the very common structure of infinitives which show the purpose or intention.
- They desired to win the game.
- She wished to become rich.
- I managed to bring peace.
- They forced him to pray on time.
- The teachers work hard to make the future of the students.
2) Adjective + infinitive: In this structure, a person can show reactions and feelings.
- I am happy to find him.
- They are angry to go abroad.
- She is delighted to become a millionaire.
3. Noun + infinitive: We can use noun + infinitive which shows our purpose.
- I want John to ring the bell.
- She found him to calm the class.
- Did I call him to paint the wall?
- I have too many friends to invite.
Position of infinitive
|Examples within sentence.||Position of the infinitive.|
|I want to be a doctor.||After verb|
|To speak English is my dream.||The subject of the sentence.|
|I have john to ring the bell.||After noun.|
|I am happy to become the winner.||After adjectives.|
Some common verbs take Infinitives. Read them and use them in your sentences.
|Infinitives||Example within sentence.|
|Choose||I choose him to write a letter to.|
|Claim||Did she claim to open the door?|
|Consent||I can consent to bring the table.|
|decide||They decided to wash the old car.|
|Agree||John agreed to come to the party.|
|Afford||Can you afford to go abroad?|
|Demand||The kidnapers’ demanded money to release her.|
|Aim||She has the aim to be an engineer.|
|Deserve||The coach deserves to be a coach.|
|Care||They don’t care to find a better area.|
|Determine||I could determine him polishing the shoes.|
|Guarantee||She guaranteed him to stand behind her.|
|Forget||The victim never forgets to be beaten.|
|Fail||Did she fail to pay the bill?|
|Expect||Expecting him to complete the project was wrong.|
|Appear||The man appeared to dance on the stage.|
|Arrange||We arranged for him to dance.|
|Hope||I hope to be a doctor.|
|Hesitate||I don’t hesitate to come on the news.|
|Have||She has me wash the clothes.|
|Happen||It happened to unite us.|
|Beg||I begged a lot to release the innocent.|
|Attempt||She attempted the meeting to select new CEO.|
|Mean||I did not mean to hurt them.|
|Seem||It seems to be closing now.|
|Learn||I learned to write well.|
|Stop||She stopped me to fight.|
|Tend||We tend to be on time.|
|Swear.||He swore to come on time.|
|Threaten||Threatening him cause effects.|
|Vow||I vow to speak the truth.|
|Want||I want to be an engineer.|
|Wish||They wished to become polite.|
|Need||I needed money to buy a new car.|
|Neglect||She neglected me to be her own friend.|
|Plan||I planned to drive the car today.|
|Offer||They offered us money to leave the game.|
These are the exercises of infinitives. Fill them out carefully in order to make this grammar clear.
|You prepared the work _______________ be managed.|
Did you prepare her _____________ the game?
They ___________to ring the bell before the end.
The king __________________the queen to go out.
Did you resolve the problem___________________ rest?
We have some cake________. (eat, to eat, eaten)
Here are some papers________. (to use, use, used)
We use gun _________the felons. (kill, to kill, killed)
The felon _____________to escape. (tried, try, trying)
We should have intimacy ___________ relation. (keep, to keep, kept)
Muslims’ enemies’ ___________ to make dull the new generation of Muslims. (want, to want, wanted)
We need a mentor to __________ us. (guide, guided, to guide)
He forced him to __________ the agreement. (to sign, sign, signed)
We use force to _______________ the crimes. (finish, to finish, finished)
He comes to center _______________his speaking. (to improve, improve, improved)