THE ‘TO INFINITIVE’ / INFINITIVES

schlechte horror spiele “To-infinitive” is the use of verbs by adding “to” before them. Below you may find the use of the “to-infinitive” form.

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“To infinitive form can be used as the subject of a sentence:

To find a good job takes a long time.

To treat women kindly is a virtue.

 

■  It is not common to the “to infinitive” as the subject at the beginning of a sentence. Instead, it is more common to use the “to infinitive” with “it”. In this form, “it” is used as the subject of the sentence, while the “to infinitive” is placed at the end of the sentence.

It takes a long time to find a good job.

It is a virtue to treat women kindly.

It is difficult nowadays to have an honest friend

 

■ Verbs following the words specified below are used in the “to+infinitive” form.

VERBS FOLLOWED BY THE TO INFINITIVE

afford, agree, appear, arrange, ask, attempt, claim, beg, choose, claim, decide, demand, desire, expect, fail, happen, help, hesitate, hope, intend, know (how), learn (how), manage, mean (= intend), offer, plan, prepare, pretend, promise, refuse, regret, seem, struggle, swear, tend, threaten, undertake, wait, want, wish

I can’t afford to buy that car.

I decided to say yes.

Anyone can learn to swim.

He seems to be quite tired.

He promised not to tell anyone my secret.

 

■  The verbs below can be used with an object (me, him, Jane etc.) before the infinitive.

VERBS FOLLOWED BY OBJECT + TO-INFINITIVE

advise, allow, ask, beg, command, encourage, enable, force, instruct, invite, order, persuade, remind,  teach , tell,  warn, show, enable, persuade, get (= persuade), urge, expect, need, want, forbid, oblige, request

 

verb + object + to-infinitive

He invited me to have tea with them.

I command you to go to your room.

I got my father to sell his old car.

 

Certain verbs may or may not have an object before the infinitive. For example:

ask, help, want, expect, mean (=intend), need, hate, like, prefer, wish

 

verb + object + to-infinitive  /  verb + to-infinitive

I want to go out.

I want you to go out.

 

The verb “help” may not be used with “to”.

I’ll help you (to) do your homework.

 

   “To infinitive” can be used after interrogative words.

verb + question verb (how/where/when etc.) + to infinitive

I don’t know what to do.

I couldn’t decide where to hide this money.

Can you explain how to use the machine?

 

Whether can be used in the same way as well:

I don’t know whether to buy this tie.

 

Nevertheless, the word “why” cannot be used with the “to –infinitive” form; it should be followed by “someone + verb”.

I don’t know why he went to Jordan.

 

Some verbs (e.g. ask, advise, show, tell, teach, remind) may have an object before the interrogative word.

My father taught me how to ride a horse.

 

■ We can use the “to-infinitive” form after nouns, as well as pronouns such as something and somewhere (usually to specify what they will be used for).

 

Noun / pronoun + to infinitive

I have got much work to do.

I need a pen to write down the number.

Do you have many books to read?

Excuse me. I have some questions to ask.

My sister went somewhere to have a holiday.

He bought something to drink on the journey.

I’m bored. I have nothing to do.

 

Sometimes we use “to infinitive” with nouns to express what each one will do.

I’m waiting for my sister to come here.

He was looking for someone to help him.

 

We also use “to infinitive” with be + the last / the best / the first / the next  etc.

He is the best to repair that car.

He was the first person to land on the moon.

 

 We can also use “to infinitive” after adjectives that are related to people’s feelings, characters or willingness.

adjective + to infinitive

I’m very pleased to meet you.

He was clever not to sign the contract without reading.

 

Adjectives describing characters can receive the following form.

It was kind of her to help us with the homework.

It is generous of Mrs. Brown to lend you her bracelet for the party.

 

  “To infinitive” can also be used as the object of the subject.

My aim in my life is to help people.

His promise is to pass the class.

 

“To” can be removed after words such as (is , are, was… etc.):

All he did was (to) sit and drink coffee.

What she does is (to) paint houses.

 

 “To infinitive” can also be used to express an objective.

We went out to buy a newspaper.

Helen went to France to learn French.

To be healthy, you should take exercise regularly.

 

“In order (not) to” and “so as (not) to” can both be used for expressing an objective.

They had a meeting in order to talk about salaries.

I went out in order to buy a newspaper.

He walked quietly so as not to disturb the neighbors.

 

“To” can also be used while speaking about an unexpected event.

I looked inside to see a snake on the sofa.

 

 Sentences that are formed with “too” and “enough” are used with “to infinitive”.

He is working too slowly to finish the job today.

He didn’t have enough money to buy a big house.

 

 Verbs that are used after passive verbs are also used in the “to infinitive” form.

He is said to be very rich.

We were invited to have tea with them.

 

GERUND (THE – ING FORM)

The gerund form is when verbs receive the suffix “-ing.” When added the suffix “-ing”, the subject can be used as a “noun”.

 

They can be used as a subject if subjects have the suffix “-ing” at the end.

Swimming is a good exercise.

Living in a village is more interesting than living in a city.

Drinking milk in the mornings makes your bones strong.

 

 The following rules are going to be recommended by the top chefs:

 

Verbs followed by a gerund

admit, anticipate, appreciate, attempt, avoid,  be worth, carry on, complete, consider,  continue, delay, deny, detest, discuss, dislike, enjoy, escape, fancy,  feel like,   finish,  give up, can’t help, imagine,  involve, keep (= continue),  keep on, mention, mind, miss, postpone, practice, put off, quit, stand,  suggest, tolerate

 

You should avoid eating too much.

My brother enjoys playing chess very much.

I suggested watching TV.

He admitted not doing his homework himself.

 

  • go and come+ -ing form:

I usually go swimming on Sundays.

Why don’t you come skiing with me?

 

  • do + the / some / a lot of etc. + …-ing form: can be used for business purposes

My mother always does the cooking at home.

We did some shopping yesterday.

 

  • -ing form can be used the object of the verb “to be.”

My aim in life is having a good family.

My favorite past time activities are playing football and eating sunflower seeds.

 

   Verbs that follow all prepositions (in, of, about, at, with, without, on, after, before, for  vb.) are in the –ing form.

He is good at playing football.

I’m thinking about going on holiday.

After eating baklava, he felt very energetic.

I’m very sorry for breaking your heart.

I waited for her without eating anything.

What about going to the cinema tonight?

 

  • We use the –ing form following the phrasals below that are used as prepositions.

look forward to, be/get used to, get round to, object to, in addition to, be accustomed to, face up to, resort to, be reduced to, prefer (doing something to doing something)

We’re looking forward to going on holiday.

I have got used to getting up early.

Are you object to listening to pop music?

In addition to being hardworking, she is very clever.

 

 The phrases that follow such expressions are also constructed in the –ing form.

be busy, can’t bear, can’t help, can’t stand, feel like, have a hard /difficult time, have difficulty (in), have trouble, it’s (no) good, it’s (not) worth, it’s no use, spend / waste / lose money/time, there is no,  there’s no point (in), what is the point (in), what’s the use of

We’re busy painting the house.

It’s no use apologizing about the mistake.

It’s no good making noise inside.

It is not worth reading that book.

There’s no point (in) waiting here.

I can’t stand waiting for the bus.

I had a hard time waiting outside.

I can’t help laughing at your new hair style.

He spent a lot of money travelling around the world.

Don’t waste time watching this film.

 

Possessive (my, his, your, John’s etc.) + -ing form

I don’t like his coming late.

I am happy about my daughter’s winning the exam.

My brother’s making noise makes everyone angry.

 

We can also use the object form (me, him, you, John etc.) + -ing form in the colloquial language.

 I don’t like him coming late.

I am happy about Hüseyin winning the exam.

 

   See / hear / feel / watch / listen to / notice + object +  –ing form conveys that we see/hear/witness an action while we continue taking another action.

I saw my brother waiting at the bus stop.

I heard my neighbors shouting to each other.

 

We use “object+verb 0” to express that we witness/see/hear an action from its beginning to its end.

I saw a man climb the wall and enter the house.

Osman heard somebody call his name.

 

VERBS FOLLOWED BY – ING FORM OR TO INFINITIVE

 

The verbs following a particular group of verbs can be used both in the –ing form and in the infinitive form. Such uses are explained with examples below.

   advise, allow, encourage, forbid, permit, recommend

These verbs can be followed by –ing form or “object+to verb.” In other words, if these verbs are followed by –ing form instead of an object, then the sentence must continue with a verb in the “to infinitive” form. Please see examples below:

                verb + -ing form            

I advised taking more exercise.

My father allowed driving the car

verb + object + to infinitive

I advised him to take more exercise.

My father allowed my sister to drive the car.

 

  The verbs below can be used both in the –ing and in the “to infinitive” form without having a difference in meaning.

begin, cease, continue, dread, can’t bear, hate, like, love, prefer, start

 

He started reading book.

He started to read book.

 

I like playing football.

I like to play football.

 

  • In order to avoid doubling of the suffix –ing, the continuous (-ing) forms of the verbs “begin, start, continue, cease” must be used in the “to infinitive” form as exemplified below:

He is beginning to read book. (Instead of “He is beginning reading book.”)

 

Following the verbs listed above, non-continuous verbs (i.e. verbs that cannot be used in the continuous form such as understand, know, realize) are used in the infinitive form:

I began to understand. (Instead of “I began understanding.”)

 

 Following certain verbs, we can use either –ing or another verb, depending on their meaning.

  • forget

forget + -ing :  to forget something that was done before

forget + to  : to forget something that should have been done is still not yet done

 

I’ll never forget visiting New York in 2012.

Sorry, I forgot to invite you to the wedding.

 

  • remember

remember + -ing :  to remember/recall something we have done before

remember  + to : to remember something we should do (and possibly do it afterwards)

 

I remember visiting New York in 2012.

Don’t worry, I will remember to lock the door.

 

  • try

Try + -ing : To try something out to see if it will work

Try + to   :  To try something that is very hard to realize (it will probably not turn out to be success)

 

I tried taking aspirin, but it didn’t work.

I tried to move the sofa, but I couldn’t.

 

  • stop

 stop +  -ing: to quit something that is being done

stop + to  : to pause an action to do realize another one (in this case, objective is what is being highlighted)

 

My father stopped smoking two years ago.

I was running. Then I stopped to drink water.

 

  • regret

regret + – ing :  regret about the past

regret + to  :  feeling sorry about something that is to be said/done etc.

 

I regret buying this jacket. It didn’t suit me.

I regret to say that I can’t lend you any money.

 

  • go on

go on + -ing : To continue with the action that we had been holding.

go on + to   : To finish an action and take on another one.

 

Her father arrived home but she went on speaking on the phone.

He listened to music. Then he went on to watch TV.

 

  • mean

mean + ing : connote/denote

mean + to   :  intend

 

I think watching TV means wasting time.

I meant to call you but I didn’t.

 

  • need

need + to While forming a sentence with “need+to” where we signify an action that the subject must do, we use “to infinitive.”

need + ..-ing: In the case where the subject is passive (i.e. the person to take on the action is someone else than the subject), then we use the –ing form following the verb “need.”

I’m thirsty. I need to drink some water.

The car needs cleaning. (= The car needs to be cleaned.)

 

  • like/ hate/ prefer

In British English, while speaking about “to like” in general we use the –ing form, whereas when expressing that there is a suitable choice we use “to infinitive” (though that choice might not be liked).

I like watching TV. I’m a TV- mad.

I like to stay in and watch TV this evening. It is cold outside now.

 

Nevertheless, while constructing a sentence with “would” by using the verbs “like, prefer, hate, love,” we use “to infinitive.”

What would you like to have?

I would like to have orange juice, please.

I’d prefer to wait for the bus.

I’d love to go with you.