Infinitives

An Infinitive is a verb that is not limited by the verb’s tense or the person or number of the subject.

Infinitives Examples:

  • To dream big is important for success.
  • The book is fascinating to read.
  • They came to help us.
  • I wish to go there.

In the above examples, to dream, to read, to help, and to go are infinitives.

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Infinitives

Finite verb and Infinitive


Finite VerbInfinitive
They painted the walls green.They wanted to paint the walls green.
Bobita goes to school.Bobita likes to go to school.
The children made their parents proud.The children wanted to make their parents proud.

Difference between Gerund and Infinitive


In modern grammar, the distinction between the simple infinitive and the gerundial infinitive is not emphasized because both can be transformed into a gerund.

InfinitiveGerund
To swim in the ocean is refreshing.Swimming in the ocean is refreshing.
To learn a foreign language takes dedication.Learning a foreign language takes dedication.
She decided to read a book before bed.She decided on reading a book before bed.
To cook is her passion.Cooking is her passion.
To write poetry requires creativity.Writing poetry requires creativity.
He loves to watch movies at the theater.He loves watching movies at the theater.
To travel the world is his dream.Traveling the world is his dream.

Use of an Infinitive


Use 1 – As the Subject of a Verb:

  • To win the championship requires dedication and hard work.
  • To travel the world is her lifelong dream.
  • To study diligently leads to academic success.
  • To speak fluently in multiple languages is a valuable skill.
  • To exercise regularly improves overall health.
  • To write a novel takes creativity and perseverance.
  • To learn from our mistakes is crucial for personal growth.
  • To sing in the choir brings joy to her heart.
  • To paint beautiful landscapes is his passion.

The infinitive phrases “to win the championship,” “to travel the world,” “to study diligently,” etc., are used as the subjects of the sentences.

Use 2 – As the Object of a Verb:

  • I love to read books in my free time.
  • They decided to explore the ancient ruins.
  • She wants to become a doctor and help others.
  • He prefers to eat vegetarian meals.
  • I enjoy to play the piano in the evenings.
  • They agreed to support the charity event.
  • She plans to travel to Europe next summer.
  • We aim to achieve our goals through hard work.
  • He dreams to become a professional athlete.

The infinitive phrases “to read books,” “to explore the ancient ruins,” “to become a doctor,” etc., function as the direct objects of the verbs.

Use 3 – As the Complement of a Verb:

  • Her goal is to start her own business.
  • The challenge appears to be insurmountable.
  • I expected him to arrive earlier.
  • Their plan is to renovate the entire house.
  • The objective is to complete the project on time.
  • The aim is to reduce carbon emissions.
  • The problem seems to have no solution.
  • Their priority is to ensure customer satisfaction.

The infinitive phrases “to start her own business,” “to be insurmountable,” “to renovate the entire house,” etc., serve as the complements of the verbs.

Use 4 – As the Object of a Preposition:

  • The patient was about to die.
  • The film is about to start.
  • The sun is about to rise.
  • The students were about to take their exams.
  • The crowd was about to erupt with excitement.
  • She had no option but to confront her fears.
  • The concert is about to begin in a few minutes.
  • He was about to lose his temper but managed to stay calm.
  • The storm is about to hit the coast with full force.

Use 5 – As the Adjective to Qualify a Noun:

  • She has a lot of homework to complete.
  • I have several errands to run today.
  • He is a person to admire for his integrity.
  • They have important decisions to make.
  • She has many books to read before the deadline.
  • It’s a difficult task to accomplish alone.
  • The job requires a lot of patience to succeed.
  • We have a long journey to undertake.
  • He has a suitcase full of clothes to pack.

The infinitive phrases “to complete,” “to run,” “to admire,” etc., modify the nouns in the sentences.

Use 6 – As an Adverb to Modify a Verb:

  • They ran to catch the train.
  • He shouted to express his frustration.
  • The dog barked to alert its owner.
  • We eat to live.
  • He came to get the book.
  • She danced to express her joy.
  • He traveled to explore new horizons.
  • They laughed to lighten the mood.
  • We sing to entertain the crowd.
  • He painted to unleash his creativity.
  • They practiced to improve their skills.
  • I meditate to find inner peace.
  • He volunteered to make a difference in the community.

Use 7 – As an Adverb to Qualify an Adjective:

  • The movie was incredibly exciting to watch.
  • The child’s laughter is joyous to hear.
  • The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful to behold.
  • The problem seems insurmountably difficult to solve.
  • The food smelled deliciously tempting to eat.
  • The book was surprisingly easy to read.
  • The weather turned unexpectedly cold to endure.
  • The performance was wonderfully entertaining to watch.
  • The situation appeared hopelessly complicated to understand.
  • The dress looked elegantly stylish to wear.

In these examples, the infinitive phrases “to watch,” “to hear,” “to behold,” etc., modify the adjectives in the sentences, providing additional information about the quality or manner of the adjective.

Use 8 – As a Part of a Noun Phrase:

  • We have a plan on where to meet.
  • I told you what to do.
  • She told me where to go.
  • Tell them when to start.
  • I know where to buy a good painting.
  • They discussed options on whom to hire.
  • He explained how to solve the equation.
  • They asked the tour guide when to take photographs at the scenic spot.
  • I showed her how to assemble the furniture properly.

Use 9 – After Preliminary ‘It’:

  • It is important to exercise regularly.
  • It is necessary to study for the exam.
  • It is crucial to follow the instructions.
  • It is beneficial to eat a balanced diet.
  • It is advisable to save money for the future.
  • It is wise to seek advice from professionals.
  • It is practical to have a backup plan.
  • It is helpful to maintain a positive attitude.

The infinitive phrases “to exercise regularly,” “to study for the exam,” “to follow the instructions,” etc., follow the introductory “It” and serve as the subject or complement of the sentences.

Use 10 – After ‘too’:

 

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  • The package was too heavy to carry.
  • The task was too difficult to complete alone.
  • The music was too loud to concentrate.
  • The car was too expensive to afford.
  • The movie was too scary to watch.
  • The hike was too long to finish in a day.
  • The weather was too hot to go outside.
  • The traffic was too congested to drive through.

The infinitive phrases “to carry,” “to attend the meeting,” “to complete alone,” etc., follow the word “too” and express the result or consequence that is beyond the capability or possibility indicated by the adjective.


Infinitives without ‘To’


Use 1 – In Active Voice, ‘To’ is not used with some verbs that include let, see, hear, need, bid, help, make, dare, etc.

Let her go now.We saw them leave.
He bade me do it.I saw him read.
They helped me carry the bag.We heard her cry.

Use 2 – ‘To’ is not used after had better, can better, rather than, sooner than, but

You had better leave now.She did nothing but complain.
He can better swim than dive.I would rather walk than drive.

Infinitives Exercise


A. Fill in the blanks with the appropriate form of verbs from the list:

List: tell, rise, live, play, hear, do, buy, dance, make, eat

  1. We eat………….
  2. I want a cake………..
  3. They like ……… story
  4. I gave him a list of things to……….
  5. It is difficult ………….
  6. She likes ………………..
  7. Boys like …………… a noise.
  8. He did not want ………… a lie.
  9. ……………. in the morning is good for health
  10. ……………….. the sum is difficult.

B. Rewrite the following sentences using ‘too ……’ to’ :

  1. The tea is very hot. I cannot drink.
  2. The problem is so complicated that he cannot solve it.
  3. The storm is so fierce that it cannot be ventured outside.
  4. The crowd is so massive that it cannot be contained.
  5. The fear is so overwhelming that she cannot move.
  6. The sadness is so deep that it cannot be expressed.
  7. The darkness is so absolute that it cannot be penetrated.
  8. The distance is so vast that it cannot be traversed.
  9. The smell is so foul that it cannot be ignored.
  10. The speed is so fast that it cannot be matched.
  11. The disappointment is so great that it cannot be concealed.
  12. The joy is so overwhelming that it cannot be contained.
  13. The anger is so fierce that it cannot be controlled.
  14. You are very late. You cannot attend the class.
  15. She is very ill. She cannot sit.

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Also, Read


Time and Tense

Time and Tense

Gerund

Gerund

Determiners

Determiners

Punctuation

Punctuation

Nominal Compound

Nominal Compound

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