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Grammar 18 - Infinitives as Non-finites
"You would be silly to shave your moustache." - 'To shave' is a 'to infinitive'.

Grammar 18 - Infinitives as Non-finites

This is the third of four High English Grammar quizzes looking at non-finite verbs. It focusses in particular on one section of the non-finites known as the infinitives.There are three types of non-finites – participles, gerunds and infinitives. While the participle and gerund undergo some modification of the verb to form their non-finites, the infinitive is the non-finite that has the base verb itself as a component.

There are two types of infinitives used in English grammar - the ‘to infinitive’ (because we add ‘to’ to the base verb to form the non-finite) and the ‘bare infinitive’ (because we just use the base verb without adding anything to it). ‘They cajoled me to come to the party’ is a sentence containing ‘to come,’ which is a ‘to infinitive.’ In the case of a bare infinitive the base verb is used after certain verbs. More specifically, bare infinitives are used after auxiliaries such as 'must,' 'could,' 'can,' 'did,' 'do,' 'might,' 'may,' 'would,' 'will,' 'should' and 'shall'. Bare infinitives are also used after certain verbs such as 'take,' 'hear,' 'help,' 'make,' 'let,' 'see,' 'watch' and 'bid'. For instance:

‘When Arpana heard the alarm clock shrill, she woke with a start.’

This is a sentence where the specific verb is ‘heard’ and the bare infinitive is ‘shrill.’ In the sentence, ‘We might complete by Friday,’ the bare infinitive ‘complete’ follows the auxiliary verb 'might'.

Infinitives, being non-finites, cannot be used as the main verb. Infinitives can be used as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. In the sentence ‘he loves to play’ the infinitive ‘to play’ is the direct object of ‘loves’ and hence functions as a noun. In the sentence ‘give him a guitar to strum’ the infinitive ‘to strum’ modifies ‘guitar’ and hence functions as an adjective. In the sentence ‘the manager returned to work’ the infinitive ‘to work’ modifies the verb returned and hence functions as an adverb.

Infinitives are a very useful part of grammar which help us to communicate more precisely and clearly. Take the quiz that follows and learn more about infinitives.

1.
"Anamika performed impeccably to impress the judges."
In this sentence what function does the infinitive 'to impress' perform?
An adverb
A noun
An adjective
A main verb
'To impress' functions as an adverb because it explains why Anamika performed impeccably. Option 4 is not possible because a non-finite cannot be the main verb. The other options are not appropriate
2.
"To study is the only thing the student wants to do after he failed the test."
In this sentence what function does the infinitive 'to study' perform?
An adjective
A main verb
A noun
An adverb
'To study' functions as a noun because it is the subject of the sentence. Option 2 is not possible because a non-finite cannot be the main verb. The other options are not appropriate
3.
"Wherever the headmaster goes, he always brings a book to read in case he has a long wait."
In this sentence what function does the infinitive 'to read' perform?
A main verb
An adverb
A noun
An adjective
'To read' functions as an adjective because it modifies 'book'. Option 1 is not possible because a non-finite cannot be the main verb. the other options are not appropriate
4.
"You would be silly IF YOU SHAVED YOUR MOUSTACHE."
Choose the rewritten sentence with the correct infinitive replacing the clause in capitals from the following.
You would be silly to shave your moustache.
You would be silly shaving your moustache.
You would be silly to shaved your moustache.
You would be silly to shaving your moustache.
'To shave' is the correct infinitive. The other options use other forms of the verb (shave), which is not possible in the case of an infinitive
5.
Choose the correct sentence with the infinitive from the following.
Manav sold his car and bought a van.
Manav sold his car for buying a van.
Manav sold his car and buying a van.
Manav sold his car to buy a van.
'To buy' is the infinitive. Remember that the infinitive is always a base form of the verb and usually is preceded by 'to' except in some cases where specific verbs are used. In the other options the verb (buy) changes form, which is not so with infinitives
6.
Choose the correct sentence with the infinitive from the following.
I want to speak to the manager.
I may be speaking to the manager.
I will be speaking to the manager.
I love speaking to the manager.
'To speak' is the infinitive. Remember that the infinitive is always a base form of the verb and usually is preceded by 'to' except in some cases where specific verbs are used. In the other options the verb (speak) changes form, which is not so with infinitives
7.
"Arriving late, I saw the other children and they seemed to be excited."
In this sentence what kind of non-finites are present?
Just a past participle
Just a present participle
Just an infinitive
All of the three above.
Three non-finites are present. 'Arriving' is the present participle, 'to be' is the infinitive and 'excited' is the past participle
8.
"Although the manager spent an extra day helping us understand the strategy, we understood little."
In the sentence what kind of a non-finite is 'understood'?
Participle
Gerund
Bare infinitive
To infinitive
Remember, a bare infinitive is one where the base form of the verb is used after certain verbs such as 'help,' 'take,' 'hear,' 'make,' 'let,' 'see,' 'watch' and 'bid'. The other options are not the appropriate non-finites
9.
"The coach was annoyed WHEN HE LEARNT THAT his team had lost the match."
Choose the rewritten sentence with the correct infinitive replacing the clause in capitals from the following.
The coach was annoyed to learning that his team had lost the match.
The coach was annoyed to learned that his team had lost the match.
The coach was annoyed learning that his team had lost the match.
The coach was annoyed to learn that his team had lost the match.
'To learn' is the correct infinitive. The other options use other forms of the verb (learn), which is not possible in the case of an infinitive
10.
"Royal Challengers Bangalore must beat Rajasthan Royals in the eliminator play-offs."
In the sentence what kind of a non-finite is 'beat'?
To infinitive
Bare infinitive
Gerund
Participle
Remember, a bare infinitive is one where the base form of the verb is used after auxiliaries such as 'must,' 'could,' 'can,' 'did,' 'do,' 'might,' 'may,' 'would,' 'will,' 'should' and 'shall'. The other options are not the appropriate non-finites
Author:  V T Narendra

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