Grammar is the backbone of any language, and understanding its various components is essential for effective communication. One such component that plays a crucial role in sentence structure and meaning is the infinitive. In this article, we will look into the concept of infinitives, their formation, and their diverse usage in the English language.


What is an Infinitive?

An infinitive is a grammatical construct that is often described as the “base” or “root” form of a verb. It is typically formed by placing the word “to” before the base form of a verb, such as “to eat,” “to run,” or “to write.” In English, infinitives are versatile and can function as various parts of speech within a sentence.


Formation of Infinitives

To form an infinitive in English, you simply need to add “to” before the base form of the verb. Here are some examples:

  • To dance
  • To sing
  • To study

Infinitives are also sometimes referred to as “to-infinitives” because of the inclusion of the word “to” at the beginning.


Usage of Infinitives

Infinitives serve a variety of purposes in the English language, making them an important grammatical concept to understand. Let’s look into some of the common uses of infinitives:

1. To Express Purpose:

  • I went to the store to buy some groceries.
  • She studies hard to excel in her exams.

In these sentences, the infinitives “to buy” and “to excel” indicate the purpose or intention behind the actions.


2. As a Subject:

  • To read is my favorite pastime.
  • To travel broadens one’s horizons.

Here, the infinitives “to read” and “to travel” serve as the subjects of the sentences.


3. After Certain Verbs:

  • She promised to help.
  • He decided to take a break.

Verbs like “promise,” “decide,” and “want” are often followed by infinitives to convey an action or intention.


4. In Infinitive Phrases:

  • The opportunity to learn a new language excited her.
  • His dream is to become a pilot.

Infinitives can also appear in phrases, adding depth and context to the sentence.


5. After Adjectives:

  • She is happy to see you.
  • It is important to be honest.

Adjectives can be followed by infinitives to describe or qualify the noun in question.


6. In Imperatives:

  • To succeed, never give up!
  • To enjoy your meal, try the chef’s special.

Infinitives are used in imperatives to give commands or suggestions.


List of Examples of Infinitives

Here is a list of examples of infinitives:

  1. To run
  2. To eat
  3. To sleep
  4. To dance
  5. To read
  6. To write
  7. To sing
  8. To study
  9. To swim
  10. To cook
  11. To travel
  12. To laugh
  13. To play
  14. To work
  15. To paint
  16. To dream
  17. To exercise
  18. To learn
  19. To help
  20. To understand

These examples demonstrate the infinitive form of various verbs in English. Infinitives can be used in a wide range of sentence structures and functions, as discussed in the previous article.