lundi 25 août 2014

Top Tips Grammar: Infinitives

Main points

*Some verbs are followed by a ‘to’- infinitive clause. Others are followed by an object and a ‘to’- infinitive clause.
*Some verbs are followed by a ‘wh’- word and ‘to’- infinitive clause. Others are followed by an object, a ‘wh’- word, and a ‘to’- infinitive clause.
*Nouns are followed by ‘to’- infinitive clauses that indicate the aim, purpose or necessity of something, or that give extra information.

 

a) Some verbs are followed by a ‘to’- infinitive clause. The subject of the verb is also the subject of the ‘to’-infinitive clause.

*verbs of saying and thinking

agree expect learn plan
choose hope mean promise
decide intend offer refuse

- She had agreed to let us use her flat.
- I decided not to go out for the evening.

*other

fail pretend want
manage tend  

- England failed to win a place in the finals.

 

b) Some verbs are followed by an object and a ‘to’- infinitive clause. The object of the verb is the subject of the ‘to’ infinitive clause.

*verbs of saying and thinking

advise expect persuade tell
ask invite remind  
encourage order teach  

- I asked her to explain.
- They advised us not to wait around too long.

*other verbs

allow get want
force help  

- I could get someone else to do it.
- I didn’t want him to go.

Note that ‘help’ can also be followed by an object and a base form.

- I helped him fix it.

Remember that you don’t use ‘want’ with a ‘that’- clause. You don’t say ‘I want that you do something’.

 

c) Some verbs are followed by ‘for’ and an object, then a ‘to’- infinitive clause. The object of ‘for’ is the subject of the ‘to’- infinitive clause.

appeal ask pay wish
arrange long wait  

- Could you arrange for a taxi to collect us?
- I waited for him to speak.

 

d) Some link verbs, and ‘pretend’ are followed by ‘to be’ and an ‘-ing’ form for continuing actions, and by ‘to have’ and a past participle for finished actions.

 - We pretend to be looking inside.
 - I don’t appear to have written down his name.

 

e) Some verbs are normally used in the passive when they are followed by a ‘to’- infinitive clause.

believe find say
consider know think
feel report understand

- He is said to have died a natural death.
- Is it thought to be a good thing?

 

f) Some verbs are followed by a ‘wh’- word and a ‘to’- infinitive clause. These include:

ask forget lean wonder
decide imagine remember  
explain know understand  

- I didn’t know what to call him.
- She had forgotten how to ride a bicycle.

Some verbs are followed by an object, then a ‘wh’- word and a ‘to’- infinitive clause

ask show tell
remind teach  

- I asked him what to do.
- Who will show him how to use it?

Some verbs only take ‘to’- infinitive clauses to express purpose.

- The captain stopped to reload the gun.
- He went to get some fresh milk.

 

g) You use a ‘to’- infinitive clause after a noun to indicate the aim of an action or the purpose of a physical object.

- We arranged a meeting to discuss the new rules.
- He had nothing to write with.

You also use a ‘to’- infinitive clause after a noun to say that something needs to be done.

- I gave him several things to mend.
- ‘What’s this?’ – ‘A list of things to remember.’

 

h) You use a ‘to’- infinitive clause after a noun group that includes an ordinal number, a superlative, or a word like ‘next’, ‘last’, or ‘only’.

- She was the first woman to be elected to the council.
- Mr. Holmes was the oldest person to be chosen.
- The only person to speak was James.

 

i) You use a ‘to’- infinitive clause after abstract nouns to give more specific information about them.

- All it take sis a willingness to learn.
- He’d lost the ability to communicate with people.

The following abstract nouns are often followed by a ‘to’- infinitive clause:

ability desire need willingness
attempt failure opportunity  
chance inability unwillingness  

Note that the verbs or adjectives which are related to these nouns can also be followed by a ‘to’- infinitive clause. For example, you can say ‘I attempted to find them’, and ‘He was willing to learn’.

 

 

 

 

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Top Tips Abz Ingles: Part A    -    Part B
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See also:

Words related to Failure to Cooperate Irregular Verbs list
Common Phrasal Verbs Common Slangs
Common misspellings Regular vs Irregular Verbs
Common Errors Frequently confused words
Common Slangs Lista de Términos Gramaticales
Common Clichés Common Prepositions

 

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