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INFINITIVE Verb: What is an Infinitive? Useful Infinitive Examples

INFINITIVE Verb: What is an Infinitive? Useful Infinitive Examples

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As we explore English grammar, we find that infinitive verbs help link ideas by following certain verbs or adjectives, and they can even introduce subordinate clauses. Knowing when and how to use them not only enhances our writing but also elevates our communication, giving us the tools to express a wide range of actions and intentions with nuance and precision.

What is an Infinitive Verb? | Infinitive Definition

Infinitive Verb

What is an Infinitive? 

An infinitive will almost always begin with to followed by the simple form of the verb. Basically, an infinitive verb is a verb with the word “to” in front of it.

  • to be
  • to get
  • to make
  • to play
  • to learn

When you use an infinitive verb, the “to” is a part of the verb. It is not acting as a preposition in this case. And the verb is always just the verb: no -ed, no -ing, no -s on the end.

Types of Infinitives

There are mainly two types of infinitives that we’ll consider:

  1. Full Infinitive: This is the most common form and includes the word “to” followed by the verb. Example: “to go.”
  2. Bare Infinitive: This form is without the word “to” and often appears after modal verbs. Example: “can go.”

Functions of Infinitives

As Subjects

Infinitives often act as subjects, the doer of the action in a sentence. For instance:

  • To walk is a great way to stay healthy.
  • To learn takes time and patience.

As Objects

We use infinitives as objects following certain verbs. This is where the infinitive receives the action of the verb:

  • We love to read.
  • They chose to leave early.

As Complements

Infinitives can serve as complements, completing the meaning of the verbs they follow:

  • Her goal is to teach.
  • His dream was to travel around the world.

As Adverbials

Lastly, infinitives can function as adverbials, modifying verbs by providing a reason or purpose:

  • We went to the store to buy groceries.
  • She is studying hard to pass the exam.

List of Verbs Followed by INFINITIVES

Verb + Infinitive

  • Afford – I can’t afford to buy a new car this year.
  • Agree – We agreed to meet at the coffee shop at noon.
  • Appear – He appears to be very knowledgeable about the subject.
  • Arrange – She arranged to have the package delivered by Friday.
  • Ask – I asked to speak with the manager.
  • Attempt – He attempted to break the world record.
  • Beg – The child begged to go on the ride.
  • Care – I don’t care to discuss this matter anymore.
  • Choose – She chose to stay home instead of going out.
  • Claim – He claims to have seen a celebrity downtown.
  • Decide – We decided to start our own business.
  • Demand – The workers demand to be treated fairly.
  • Deserve – They deserve to win the award for their hard work.
  • Expect – I expect to receive the results by tomorrow.
  • Fail – She failed to pass the final exam.
  • Forget – Don’t forget to lock the door when you leave.
  • Happen – He happened to be there when the accident occurred.
  • Hesitate – Don’t hesitate to call if you need anything.
  • Hope – We hope to visit you next summer.
  • Learn – He learned to play the guitar in just a few months.
  • Manage – She managed to finish the project on time.
  • Need – You need to see a doctor immediately.
  • Offer – They offered to help us move.
  • Plan – We plan to go to France next year.
  • Prepare – The chef prepared to make his signature dish.
  • Pretend – The children pretended to be pirates.
  • Promise – I promise to call you as soon as I arrive.
  • Refuse – He refused to answer the question.
  • Remember – Remember to send the letter.
  • Seem – She seems to be very happy with her new job.
  • Struggle – He struggled to lift the heavy box.
  • Swear – She swore to tell the truth.
  • Threaten – The company threatened to close the factory.
  • Volunteer – He volunteered to organize the event.
  • Wait – I can’t wait to see the new movie.
  • Want – They want to start a family soon.
  • Wish – I wish to speak to your supervisor, please.
  • Would like – I would like to order the steak, medium-rare.

Verb + Infinitive or Gerund

List of verbs can go with infinitives or gerunds.

  • Begin
    • Infinitive: I began to study at eight o’clock.
    • Gerund: I began studying at eight o’clock.
  • Start
    • Infinitive: She started to work here last month.
    • Gerund: She started working here last month.
  • Continue
    • Infinitive: He continued to talk despite the noise.
    • Gerund: He continued talking despite the noise.
  • Love
    • Infinitive: I would love to travel around the world.
    • Gerund: I love reading about different cultures.
  • Hate
    • Infinitive: I hate to see food go to waste.
    • Gerund: I hate wasting food.
  • Like
    • Infinitive: I like to go for a walk in the morning.
    • Gerund: I like going for a walk in the morning.
  • Prefer
    • Infinitive: I prefer to drink tea rather than coffee.
    • Gerund: I prefer drinking tea to drinking coffee.
  • Can’t stand
    • Infinitive: She can’t stand to be in a messy room.
    • Gerund: She can’t stand being in a messy room.
  • Can’t bear
    • Infinitive: He can’t bear to watch scary movies.
    • Gerund: He can’t bear watching scary movies.
  • Try
    • Infinitive: Try to remember where you left your keys.
    • Gerund: I tried calling you, but there was no answer.
  • Stop
    • Infinitive: He stopped to rest after running for an hour.
    • Gerund: He stopped resting and resumed his run.
  • Remember
    • Infinitive: Remember to lock the door when you leave.
    • Gerund: I remember locking the door before I left.
  • Forget
    • Infinitive: Don’t forget to call me later.
    • Gerund: I’ll never forget meeting you for the first time.
  • Regret
    • Infinitive: I regret to inform you that the flight has been canceled.
    • Gerund: She regrets not studying harder for the exam.
  • Need
    • Infinitive: The plant needs to be watered every day.
    • Gerund: The plant needs watering every day.
  • Advise
    • Infinitive: I advise you to check the weather before you go hiking.
    • Gerund: The doctor advises eating healthy foods.
  • Allow
    • Infinitive: They don’t allow visitors to take photographs.
    • Gerund: The museum allows taking photographs without a flash.
  • Permit
    • Infinitive: The library does not permit people to use cell phones.
    • Gerund: The library permits using laptops in the reading area.
  • Encourage
    • Infinitive: We encourage students to participate in extracurricular activities.
    • Gerund: We encourage participating in community service.
  • Consider
    • Infinitive: She considered moving to New York to find a job.
    • Gerund: He considered taking a gap year before college.

Interactive Exercises

Exercise: Choose the Correct Infinitive Form

Select the correct infinitive form to complete each sentence.

  1. I need (to study/studying) for my exam tomorrow.
  2. She wants (to learn/learning) how to play the piano.
  3. He offered (to help/helping) us with our project.
  4. They decided (to go/going) on a trip to Europe.
  5. Do you plan (to visit / visiting) the new museum exhibit?
  6. The teacher expects us (to complete/completing) our assignments on time.
  7. We hope (to see/seeing) you at the party next weekend.
  8. She can’t stand (to wait/waiting) in long lines.
  9. He pretended (to be/being) asleep when his parents checked on him.
  10. I would like (to order/ordering) the grilled salmon, please.


  1. to study
  2. to learn
  3. to help
  4. to go
  5. to visit
  6. to complete
  7. to see
  8. to wait
  9. to be
  10. to order

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common examples of infinitive verbs in English?

Infinitive verbs are the basic form of a verb with ‘to’ in front of them. Examples include ‘to speak’, ‘to read’, ‘to walk’, and ‘to have’. They can act as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs in a sentence.

How can an infinitive function as an adjective with suitable examples?

An infinitive can describe a noun by telling us more about it. For instance, in the sentence “The book to read for the exam is on the shelf,” the phrase ‘to read’ functions as an adjective, giving us information about which book.

Could you explain the concept and structure of an infinitive phrase?

An infinitive phrase consists of the infinitive itself plus any complements and modifiers. For example, in “She plans to travel around the world,” ‘to travel around the world’ is the infinitive phrase, with ‘around the world’ acting as the modifier of ‘to travel’.

What exercises can help understand the use of ‘to’ with infinitives?

To practice using ‘to’ with infinitives, try rewriting sentences, adding an infinitive to convey purpose or intent. For example, change “She is studying.” to “She is studying to pass her exams.”

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