infinitive: use

infinitive: use

  • Subject
    An infinitive can be the subject of a sentence.
      To learn Chinese is not easy.
    But we more often use a structure with it as a 'preparatory subject' , or with an -ing form as subject .
      It is not easy to learn Chinese.
      Learning Chinese isn 't easy.
  • After verb
    We often use an infinitive after another verb.
      It's beginning to rain.
      I expect to be free tomorrow evening.
      I don't want to see you again.
    Some common verbs that can have an infinitive after them:
    afford
    happen
    prefer
    appear
    hate
    prepare
    arrange
    help
    pretend
    ask
    hope
    promise
    (can't) bear
    intend
    refuse
    begin
    learn
    remember
    dare (see 94)
    like
    seem
    decide
    love
    start
    expect
    manage
    try
    fail
    mean
    want
    forget
    offer
    wish
    [object + infinitive] (for Some of these verbs can be used with example I want her to be happy). For details, see 3 below.
    After some of these verbs, we can also use an -ingform. The meaning is not always the same (for example, try running/try to run).
  • [ Verb + object + infinitive]
    After some verbs, we can use [object + infinitive].
      She didn't want me to go.
      I didn't ask you to pay for the meal.
    Some common verbs that are used in this structure:
    advise
    hate
    prefer
    allow
    help (see 158)
    remind
    ask
    invite
    teach
    (can't) bear
    like
    tell
    cause
    mean
    want
    encourage
    need
    warn
    expect
    order
    wish
    get (see 143)
    persuade

    For verb + infinitive without to , see 179.
  • After adjective
    Infinitives are used after some adjectives.
      I'm pleased to see you.
      John was surprised to get Ann's letter.
      His accent is not easy to understand (NOT ...to understand it.
      She's very nice to talk to. (NOT... to talk to her)
    For structures like I'm anxious for the meeting to finish early, see 132. For enough and too with [adjective + infinitive]
  • After noun
    We can use infinitives after some nouns.
      I have no wish to change I told her about my decision to leave.
    The infinitive often explains the purpose of something: what it will do, or what somebody will do with it.
      Have you got a key to open this door?
      I need some more work to do.
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  • 'copula1 verbs
  • 'social' language
  • (a) few and (a) little
  • (a)round and about
  • (be) used to + noun or... -ing
  • (Great) Britain, the United Kingdom, the British Isles and England
  • -ing form ('gerund')
  • -ing form after to
  • -ing form or infinitive?
  • abbreviations
  • about to
  • above and over
  • across and over
  • across and through
  • active verb forms
  • actual(ly)
  • adjectives ending in -Iy
  • adjectives without nouns
  • adjectives: order
  • adjectives: position
  • adverbs of manner
  • adverbs: position (details)
  • adverbs: position (general)
  • after (conjunction)
  • after (preposition); afterwards (adverb)
  • after all
  • afternoon, evening and night
  • ages
  • ago
  • all (of) with nouns and pronouns
  • all and every
  • all and whole
  • all right
  • all with verbs
  • all, everybody and everything
  • almost and nearly
  • also, as well and too
  • although and though
  • among and between
  • and
  • and after try, wait, go etc
  • another
  • any (= 'it doesn't matter which')
  • any and no: adverbs
  • appear
  • articles: a and an; pronunciation of the
  • articles: a/an
  • articles: countable and uncountable nouns
  • articles: introduction
  • articles: special rules and exceptions
  • articles: talking in general
  • articles: the
  • articles: the difference between a/an and the
  • as and like
  • as if and as though
  • as much/many ... as ...
  • as well as
  • as, because and since (reason)
  • as, when and while (things happening at the same time)
  • as...as ...
  • ask
  • at all
  • at, in and on (place)
  • at, in and on (time)
  • be + infinitive
  • be with auxiliary do
  • be: progressive tenses
  • because and because of
  • before (adverb)
  • before (conjunction)
  • before (preposition) and in front of
  • begin and start
  • big, large, great and tall
  • born
  • borrow and lend
  • both (of) with nouns and pronouns
  • both with verbs
  • both... and...
  • bring and take
  • British and American English
  • broad and wide
  • but = except
  • by: time
  • can and could: ability
  • can and could: forms
  • can with remember, understand, speak, play, see, hear, feel, taste and smell
  • can: permission, offers, requests and orders
  • can: possibility and probability
  • close and shut
  • come and go
  • comparison: comparative and superlative adjectives
  • comparison: comparative and superlative adverbs
  • comparison: much, far etc with comparatives
  • comparison: using comparatives and superlatives
  • conditional
  • conjunctions
  • contractions
  • countable and uncountable nouns
  • country
  • dare
  • dates
  • determiners
  • discourse markers
  • do + -ing
  • do and make
  • do: auxiliary verb
  • during and for
  • during and in
  • each and every
  • each other and one another
  • each: grammar
  • either... or...
  • either: determiner
  • ellipsis (leaving words out)
  • else
  • emphasis
  • emphatic structures with it and what
  • enjoy
  • enough
  • even
  • eventual(ly)
  • ever
  • every and every one
  • except
  • except and except for
  • exclamations
  • excuse me, pardon and sorry
  • expect, hope, look forward, wait, want and wish
  • explain
  • fairly, quite, rather and pretty
  • far and a long way
  • farther and further
  • fast
  • feel
  • fewer and less
  • for + object + infinitive
  • for, since, from, ago and before
  • for: purpose
  • future perfect
  • future progressive
  • future: introduction
  • future: present progressive and going to
  • future: shall and will (interpersonal uses)
  • future: shall/will (predictions)
  • future: simple present
  • gender (masculine and feminine language)
  • get (+ object) + verb form
  • get + noun, adjective, adverb particle or preposition
  • get and go: movement
  • go ... -ing
  • go meaning'become'
  • go: been and gone
  • had better
  • half (of)
  • hard and hardly
  • have (got) to
  • have (got): possession, relationships etc
  • have + object + verb form
  • have: actions
  • have: auxiliary verb
  • have: introduction
  • hear and listen (to)
  • help
  • here and there
  • holiday and holidays
  • home
  • hope
  • how and what... like?
  • if only
  • if so and if not
  • if-sentences with could and might
  • if: ordinary tenses
  • if: special tenses
  • ill and sick
  • imperative
  • in and into (prepositions)
  • in case
  • in spite of
  • indeed
  • infinitive after who, what, how etc
  • infinitive of purpose
  • infinitive without to
  • infinitive: negative, progressive, perfect, passive
  • infinitive: use
  • instead of... -ing
  • inversion: auxiliary verb before subject
  • inversion: whole verb before subject
  • irregular verbs
  • it's time
  • it: preparatory object
  • it: preparatory subject
  • last and the last
  • let's
  • letters
  • likely
  • long and for a long time
  • look
  • look (at), watch and see
  • marry and divorce
  • may and might: forms
  • may and might: permission
  • may and might: probability
  • mind
  • modal auxiliary verbs
  • more (of): determiner
  • most (of): determiner
  • much (of), many (of): determiners
  • much, many, a lot etc
  • must and have to; mustn't, haven't got to, don't have to, don't need to and needn't
  • must: deduction
  • must: forms
  • must: obligation
  • names and titles
  • nationality words
  • need
  • negative questions
  • negative structures
  • neither (of): determiner
  • neither, nor and not... either
  • neither... nor...
  • next and nearest
  • next and the next
  • no and none
  • no and not
  • no and not a/not any
  • no more, not any more, no longer, not any longer
  • non-progressive verbs
  • noun + noun
  • numbers
  • once
  • one and you: indefinite personal pronouns
  • one: substitute word
  • other and others
  • ought
  • own
  • participle clauses
  • participles used as adjectives
  • participles: 'present' and 'past' participles (-ing and -ed)
  • passive structures: introduction
  • passive verb forms
  • past tense with present or future meaning
  • past time: past perfect simple and progressive
  • past time: past progressive
  • past time: present perfect progressive
  • past time: present perfect simple
  • past time: simple past
  • past time: the past and perfect tenses (introduction)
  • perfect tenses with this is the first time..., etc
  • personal pronouns (I, me, it etc)
  • play and game
  • please and thank you
  • possessive with determiners (a friend of mine, etc)
  • possessive's: forms
  • possessive's: use
  • possessives: my and mine, etc
  • prepositional verbs and phrasal verbs
  • prepositions after particular words and expressions
  • prepositions and adverb particles
  • prepositions at the end of clauses
  • prepositions before particular words and expressions
  • prepositions: expressions without prepositions
  • present tenses: introduction
  • present tenses: present progressive
  • present tenses: simple present
  • progressive tenses with always
  • punctuation: apostrophe
  • punctuation: colon
  • punctuation: comma
  • punctuation: dash
  • punctuation: quotation marks
  • punctuation: semi-colons and full stops
  • question tags
  • questions: basic rules
  • questions: reply questions
  • questions: word order in spoken questions
  • quite
  • real(ly)
  • reflexive pronouns
  • relative pronouns
  • relative pronouns: what
  • relative pronouns: whose
  • relatives: identifying and non-identifying clauses
  • remind
  • reported speech and direct speech
  • reported speech: orders, requests, advice etc
  • reported speech: pronouns; 'here and now' words; tenses
  • reported speech: questions
  • requests
  • road and street
  • say and tell
  • see
  • seem
  • shall
  • short answers
  • should
  • should after why and how
  • should and would
  • should, ought and must
  • should: (If I were you) I should ...
  • similar words
  • since (conjunction of time): tenses
  • singular and plural: anybody etc
  • singular and plural: irregular plurals
  • singular and plural: plural expressions with singular verbs
  • singular and plural: pronunciation of plural nouns
  • singular and plural: singular words ending in -s
  • singular and plural: singular words with plural verbs
  • singular and plural: spelling of plural nouns
  • slow(ly)
  • small and little
  • smell
  • so am I, so do I etc
  • so and not with hope, believe etc
  • some and any
  • some/any and no article
  • some: special uses
  • somebody and anybody, something and anything, etc
  • sound
  • spelling and pronunciation
  • spelling: -ise and -ize
  • spelling: -ly
  • spelling: capital letters
  • spelling: ch and tch, k and ck
  • spelling: doubling final consonants
  • spelling: final -e
  • spelling: full stops with abbreviations
  • spelling: hyphens
  • spelling: ie and ei
  • spelling: y and i
  • still, yet and already
  • subject and object forms
  • subjunctive
  • such and so
  • suggest
  • surely
  • sympathetic
  • take
  • take (time)
  • tall and high
  • taste
  • telephoning
  • telling the time
  • tenses in subordinate clauses
  • that: omission
  • the same
  • there is
  • think
  • this and that
  • too
  • travel, journey and trip
  • unless and if not
  • until and by
  • until and to
  • used to + infinitive
  • verbs with object complements
  • verbs with two objects
  • way
  • weak and strong forms
  • well
  • when and if
  • whether and if
  • whether... or...
  • which, what and who: question words
  • who ever, what ever, how ever etc
  • whoever, whatever, whichever, however, whenever and wherever
  • will
  • wish
  • worth ... -ing
  • would
  • would rather
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    Basic English Usage
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