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:
As objects, infinitive phrases appear after transitive verbs. Here are a few examples:
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:
I needed a friend
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 just eat
Sometimes, an additional word (such as an adverb) can appear
She asked me
Infinitive phrases are to-infinitives that are used as:
- nouns (subjects and objects)
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