Infinitive Phrases

Infinitive phrases are phrases that look like infinitives but they are used in special positions.

What Are Infinitive Phrases in English?

What Are Infinitive Phrases?

An infinitive phrase is a group of words that includes an infinitive verb (the base form of the verb preceded by the particle "to") and any accompanying objects, modifiers, or complements. Infinitive phrases can function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs in a sentence. Infinitive phrases can also be used in a variety of other sentence structures, such as after adjectives, adverbs, or prepositions.

Infinitive Phrases: Function

Infinitive phrases can serve a number of grammatical functions:

Infinitive Phrases as Nouns

'Infinitive phrases' can function as nouns, and like other nouns, they can serve as the subject or object of a sentence.
As subjects, they typically appear at the beginning of the sentence. Here are a few examples in which infinitive phrases are used as subjects:

To drink coffee every morning makes you fresh.

To meet you was a pleasure.

As objects, infinitive phrases appear after transitive verbs. Here are a few examples:

I love to dance on the stage.

I hate to paint the walls on my own.

using an infinitive phrase as a subject

Infinitive Phrases as Modifiers

Infinitive phrases can also be used as adjectives describing or modifying nouns. When used as adjectives, they can appear either before or after the noun they modify. Here are a few examples of infinitive phrases that are used as adjectives:

The person to ask is the manager.

I needed a friend to understand me.

Infinitive Phrases as Adverbs

Infinitive phrases can also be used as adverbs and give further information about the verb, adjective, or another adverb in a sentence. Here are a few examples:

I stopped to smoke.

I just eat to live not to enjoy.

Split Infinitives

Sometimes, an additional word (such as an adverb) can appear between the particle "to" and the verb, resulting in a split infinitive. Split infinitives are often used in informal conversation. For example:

You need to quickly move in.

She asked me to kindly leave the room


Infinitive phrases are to-infinitives that are used as:

  1. nouns (subjects and objects)
  2. adjectives
  3. adverbs


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