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Basics of English Grammar- Infinitives

Infinitives are an integral part of sentence completion and one of the basic concepts in English grammar. It is very essential to know the specific form of verb to be filled in the gap. In this post I therefore would be discussing about infinitives.

Infinitive is a kind of verb, usually the first form which is used with or without ‘to’ -e.g. to go,to come,to do , to have etc. It can be used in the following ways:

  1. As subject –e.g. To know you is to love you.
  2. They are almost always used after some specific verbs-e.g. We promise to do it soon.(Follow my next post for ‘List of verbs which are followed by infinitives’ )
  3. Infinitve without ‘to’ almost always follows certain expressions/verbs.
  • Will,shall,can,do,let.For example: Let it be done or Must we go?
  • Expressions-would rather,would sooner,rather than,sooner than,had better are always followed by infinitive without ‘to’. For example
  • I would follow rules rather than suffer.
  •  Need and dare will take infinitive without ‘to’ except when they are conjugated with do. For example: You need not say something. or He dares not to do it.
  • Verbs of sensation,help,watch.For example: He helped me meet the officer.
  • Prepositions but and except are followed by infinitive without ‘to’. For example There was nothing to do but wait. He will say anything except abuse you.
  1. They are used to express purpose. For example: He went to Oxford to study Law.
  2. It is used after adjective. Expressing emotions like delight,glad,astonished,surprised,horriefied etc. For example:I was glad to meet him or I was horrified to see the movie.
  3. It can be used to replace a relative clause i.e., after the first, the second and the last, the only to’. For example: He is the only one to be interrogated. (The only one who is interrogated.) or He is an honest worker: he is the first to come. (The first who comes)
  4. At times it may be represented only by ‘to’. For example:Have you turned off the gas? No, but I am just going to or He wanted to finish the work but we were not able to.
  5. They are also used after certain verbs with interrogative like how, if, what, where ,whether. For example: I didn’t know what to do next. For eg. I don’t remember where to meet or He doesn’t know how to write in French.

Note: Infinitives follow certain sentence pattern which I would disclose  in my next post…        Here you can check my new post on infinitives that covers the above mentioned point. Click here

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July 13, 2012
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