What Are Infinitive Clauses?
Infinitive clauses are subordinate clauses that are formed using an infinitive to indicate the purpose, result, or condition of the action in the main clause. Infinitive clauses can function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs in a sentence.
Infinitive Clauses: Types
There are two types of infinitive clauses:
- Bare infinitives
'To-infinitives' can be divided into the following categories:
- 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]
This structure is used to indicate that an action was completed before a certain time. For example:
The boy was lucky
To form perfect continuous we can use this structure:
[To + have + been + verb + -ing]
We use this structure to emphasize duration. For example:
She was too skinny
If a passive finite verb clause is followed by an infinitive, the infinitive clause will also be in the passive voice.
I expect that all the rooms will be cleaned before the guests arrive.
passive finite verb
I expect all the rooms
Infinitives normally include the particle 'to', but it is not always necessary. When an infinitive is used without the particle 'to', it is called a bare infinitive. Pay attention to the examples:
I made John
Infinitive Clauses: Functions
Infinitive Clauses as Subjects
The above sentences might sound too formal. It is more common to express these sentences using 'it' or a participle clause. For example:
Infinitive Clauses as Objects
An infinitive clause can serve as the object of a sentence. Many verbs can be followed by an infinitive clause as the direct object.
I have decided
Infinitive Clauses as Object Complements
Infinitive Clauses as Subject Complements
The Infinitive of Purpose
The Infinitive of Reason
Infinitive clauses can also be used to explain the reason or purpose for doing 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
Verbs such as 'ask, decide, explain, forget, know, show, tell, and understand' can be followed by question words like where, how, what, who, and when followed by the infinitive clause. Take a look at the examples:
My mom asked me how
I'll tell you when
He's forgotten where
Infinitive Clauses with Adjectives
Sometimes, an infinitive clause immediately follows an adjective. Normally, the structure of the sentence would be as follows:
subject + to be + adjective + (for/of someone) + infinitive clause + (rest of sentence)
Check out the examples:
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 indicate the reason behind an action. In these cases, we can easily remove the infinitive and the sentence would still be grammatically correct. The structure is as follows:
- 'enough' + the adjective, adverb, or noun + the infinitive
- the adjective, adverb, or noun + 'enough' + the infinitive
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
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Infinitives are used in many structures, especially after catenative verbs. Follow the article to learn them.
To-infinitives are the base form of the verbs preceded by the preposition 'to'. To-infinitives are used in many conditions. In this lesson, we will learn them.
The word 'bare' means without the addition of something. So you can easily get the meaning of a bare infinitive.