To learn infinitive clauses, first of all, you should know the elements in a cause and the definition of an infinitive. In this lesson, we will learn them.
What Are Infinitive Clauses?
Infinitive clauses (also called to-infinitive or infinitival clauses) are a group of words that contain an infinitive (to + base form of verbs) as its main verb form.
Infinitive Clauses: Types
There are two types of infinitive clauses:
- To infinitives
- Bare infinitives
We have divided the “to infinitives” into the following groups:
- Perfect continuous (progressive)
Any subordinate clause whose verb is in "to-infinitive" form is a to-infinitive clause. Let's see some examples:
If you want
To make a perfect form with infinitives we can use the following structure:
to+ have + past participle
We use this structure to show something has happened in the time preceding.
The boy was lucky
To form perfect continuous we can use this structure:
To + have + been + V-ing
We use this structure to emphasize duration.
She was too skinny
If a passive finite verb clause comes with an infinitive, it will be a passive infinitive clause by itself
I expect that all the rooms will be cleaned before the guests arrive.
passive finite verb
I expect all the rooms to be cleaned before the guests arrive.
the Bare Infinitive
Normally, an infinitive has the preposition 'to,' but it is not an essential part of it. When an infinitive is used without the preposition 'to' it is called a bare infinitive.
I made John
Infinitive Clauses: Functions
An infinitive clause often acts as the subject or object or complement of the main clause.
Infinitive Clauses as Subjects
An infinitive clause can be the subject of a sentence. After the infinitive clause, there is the verb 'be' or other state verbs.
The above sentences might sound too formal. It is more common to express these sentences using 'it' or a participle clause.
Infinitive Clauses as Objects
An infinitive clause can be the object of a sentence. Many verbs can be followed by an infinitive clause in the place of the direct object.
I have decided
Infinitive Clauses as Object Complements
An infinitive or infinitive clause acts as an object complement by describing the intended or desired action of the direct object. For example:
Janet's father wants her
He asked me
Infinitive Clauses as Subject Complements
An infinitive clause can be a subject complement after the verb 'be' or other linking verbs.
My advice is
Her decision was
The Infinitive of Purpose
The Infinitive of Reason
We can also use infinitive clauses to explain 'why' we do something. In this case, 'to' has the same meaning as 'in order to' or 'so as to.'
He checked his voicemail
He went home early
Infinitive Clauses with Question Words
The verbs 'ask, decide, explain, forget, know, show, tell, and understand' can be followed by a question word such as where, how, what, who, and when + the infinitive clause.
My mom asked me how
I'll tell you when
He's forgotten where
Infinitive Clauses with Adjectives
Sometimes, an infinitive clause is followed immediately after an adjective. Normally, the structure of the sentence would be like this:
subject + to be + adjective + (for/of someone) + infinitive clause + (rest of sentence)
It is important for the doctor
He is disappointed
Infinitive Clauses with Adverbs
Infinitive clauses can also be used with the adverbs 'too' and 'enough' in order to show us the reason behind an action. The pattern is:
'too/enough' + the adjective, adverb, or noun + the infinitive
the adjective, adverb, or noun + 'too/enough' + the infinitive
We can easily remove the infinitive and the sentence would still function grammatically.
There is too much salt
She's old enough
The prepositional phrase that comes before an infinitive clause is not the subject, it is the complement of a prepositional phrase. take a look at some examples:
For= prepososition, Them=object of a preposition, To host a ... =complement
Infinitive clauses are made of an infinitive. Infinitives can be bare infinirtive or to-infinitive. Infinitive clauses are used as:
- object complement
- subject complement
- What Are Infinitive Clauses?
- The Infinitive of Purpose
- The Infinitive of Reason
- Infinitive Clauses with Question Words
- Infinitive Clauses with Adjectives
- Infinitive Clauses with Adverbs