To learn infinitive clauses, first of all, you should know the elements in a cause and the definition of an infinitive.
What Is an Infinitive Clause?
Infinitive clauses (also called to-infinitive or infinitival clauses) are clauses that contain an infinitive (to + base form of verbs) as its main verb form.
Infinitive Clauses: Types Based on Having Subjects
There are two types of to-infinitive clauses based on having or not having a subject.
- Infinitive Clauses with Subjects
- Infinitive Clauses without Subjects
The subject of an infinitive clause is in the structure of for + noun.
Infinitive Clauses: Types Based on Having 'to'
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
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.
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
Sometimes, we use noun + infinitive clause to express the purpose of that noun. In this pattern, the to-infinitive follows a noun or pronoun.
Do you have a credit card
I'd like something
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
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
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 Is an Infinitive Clause?
- Infinitive Clauses: Types Based on Having Subjects
- The Infinitive of Purpose
- The Infinitive of Reason
- Infinitive Clauses with Question Words
- Infinitive Clauses with Adjectives
- Infinitive Clauses with Adverbs