What is Infinitive? Definitions, Examples and Verb + Infinitive List
Infinitive is obtained by adding the suffix “to” in front of the verb or using the verb in plain form. Just like gerund, it is a named verb that can be used in the case of a subject or object in a sentence. It can be a single word. Sometimes it can be a group of words.
- She wants to study languages at university.
- To be a student is really difficult.
- They are planning to move into another house.
To make a negative, “not” is brought to the beginning.
There is a meaning difference between the predicate being negative and the infinitive sentence being negative.
- I have not decided yet to go to the cinema with you.
- I have not decided to go to the cinema with you.
It can be the subject of the sentence but there is an important detail. If the subject expresses a special case, it is the infinitive but if it refers to a general case it is gerund.
- To swim in that river is not at all wise. (Gerund)
- Swimming is my favorite sport. (Infinitive)
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To + be
- They came to help me.
- It is difficult not to be sleeping during this morning.
To have +past participle
- He seems not to have made a mistake.
- Paul did not expect to be invited.
They can also be used in the case of the object of the sentence.
- The doctor ordered to stay in bed.
Some verbs do not receive a “to” after their objects. Such verbs are converted to passive roof when they take this suffix.
Note: The ‘help’ and ‘be’ verbs both of these take “to” tag and can be used without.
- The boy helped a (to) carry the table uptairs.
The infinitive + preposition can be followed by a noun.
- Sally needs a friend to play with in the garden.
In formal uses, the noun may be followed by preposition + whom / which + infinitive.
- She is looking for a flat in which to live.
In indirect expression, the infinitive can come after question words like who, what, where.
- Can you show me how to get to the post office?