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Grammar 10 - Infinitives
My children love TO PLAY outdoor games.

Grammar 10 - Infinitives

Look at these sentences:

‘My children love TO PLAY outdoor games.’

‘Saurav, how many times I have told you TO COMPLETE your home work?’

You will have heard or seen sentences like these many times and must have wondered why the verbs (in theses examples COMPLETE and PLAY) are preceded by TO. PLAY and COMPLETE are base verbs and when TO is added to the base verb, TO PLAY and TO COMPLETE become infinitives. Infinitives are one kind of non-finite verbs, the others being gerunds and participles.

Since TO is a part of the base verb do not treat it as a preposition. The verb is always in its base form and so will not end with '–s', '-ing' or '–ed'. Since the infinitive is a non-finite verb, it cannot be the main verb in a sentence, however, it is possible to use infinitives in many situations. Here are some examples:

  • Infinitives are used after certain adverbs – "He did not work hard enough TO GET a scholarship."
  • Infinitives can be used after certain adjectives – "He is too weak TO PLAY."
  • Infinitives are often used after the object of the verb – "He asked me TO COMPLETE the work."
  • Infinitives are also used as a complement of the subject – "His plan is TO JOIN the university."
  • Infinitives can also be used as a direct object – "They appreciate my ability TO SING."
  • Infinitives are used as the object of the verb – "Children love TO PLAY outdoor games."
  • Infinitives are used as a subject – "TO RESPECT our elders is our duty."
  • Infinitives can be used as an adverb – "The teacher returned TO HELP."
  • As an adjective - "Give him shoes TO SHINE."
  • And as a noun – "TO ACT was his obsession."

Infinitives lend a particular charm to the English language. Take this quiz and learn about infinitives.

1.
In which sentence is the infinitive TO RENOVATE used after the object of the verb?
He is too inexperienced TO RENOVATE.
He asked me TO RENOVATE his house.
My boss endorses my ability TO RENOVATE.
Youngsters love TO RENOVATE old houses.
In answer 1, the infinitive is used after an adjective. In answer 3, the infinitive is used as a direct object. In answer 4, the infinitive is used as the object of the verb
2.
In which sentence is the infinitive TO SING used after a certain adjective?
Children love TO SING in choirs.
They appreciate my ability TO SING.
He asked me TO SING his composition.
His throat is too weak TO SING.
In answer 1, the infinitive is used as the object of the verb. In answer 2, the infinitive is used as a direct object. In answer 3, the infinitive is used after the object of the verb
3.
Which sentence does not use the infinitive as a noun?
TO DANCE was his obsession.
He likes TO ACT.
TO SING is his passion.
Give him an artifact TO POLISH.
Here the infinitive modifies artifact, meaning it is functioning as an adjective
4.
Which sentence does not use an infinitive?
He asked me TO SING his composition.
He is too nervous TO SING.
He is too unhappy TO ENJOY.
The teacher went from punishing him TO PRAISING him in no time.
TO PRAISING is actually a preposition 'to' and a gerund 'praising'. Infinitives do not have ‘–ing’ forms
5.
Which sentence does not use the infinitive as an adjective?
Give him a youngster TO TRAIN.
The assistant returned TO HELP.
I need a secretary TO TAKE notes.
Send him a book TO READ.
Here the infinitive is used as an adverb. The infinitive modifies the verb 'returned', meaning it is functioning as an adverb
6.
In which sentence is the infinitive TO ENJOY used as the object of the verb?
Children love TO ENJOY parties.
Adults praise children's ability TO ENJOY.
His plan is TO ENJOY the party.
He is too unhappy TO ENJOY.
In answer 2, the infinitive is used as a direct object. In answer 3, the infinitive is used as a complement of the subject. In answer 4, the infinitive is used after an adjective
7.
In which sentence is the infinitive TO GATE-CRASH used as a complement of the subject?
TO GATE-CRASH is his birthright.
Political workers love TO GATE-CRASH party meetings.
His plan is TO GATE-CRASH the party.
The President of the party appreciates my ability TO GATE-CRASH.
In answer 1, the infinitive is used as a subject. In answer 2, the infinitive is used as the object of the verb. In answer 4, the infinitive is used as a direct object
8.
Which sentence does not use the infinitive as an adverb?
He likes TO SING.
He will finish the test TO SET an example.
The officer rejoined TO PLAY.
The lioness returned TO HELP.
Here the infinitive is used as a noun. The infinitive is the direct object of the verb 'likes'. To test, compare 'He likes singing'
9.
In which sentence is the infinitive TO PLAY used as the object of the verb?
Adults love TO PLAY indoor games.
They praise my ability TO PLAY.
His plan is TO PLAY the guitar.
He is too immature TO PLAY.
In answer 2, the infinitive is used as a direct object. In answer 3, the infinitive is used as a complement of the subject. In answer 4, the infinitive is used after an adjective
10.
In which sentence is the infinitive TO ACT used as a direct object?
Artistes love TO ACT different roles.
He is too nervous TO ACT.
His ultimate goal is TO ACT the part.
They praise my ability TO ACT.
In answer 1, the infinitive is used as the object of the verb. In answer 2, the infinitive is used after an adjective. In answer 3, the infinitive is used as a complement of the subject
Author:  V T Narendra

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