Infinitive Phrases for intermediate learners

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?

Infinitive phrases consist of the particle 'to' plus the base form of the main verb. Infinitive phrases are often used as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs in a sentence.

Infinitive Phrases: Structure

As stated above, infinitives are formed by adding 'to' to the base form of the verb. Look at the following examples:

Henry loves to eat cakes.

To take a thirty-minute walk everyday is a way to stay healthy.

Don't you like to dance with me?

Greg really wanted to talk this out but you ruined it.

Infinitive Phrases: Uses

Infinitive phrases can serve as:

  • the subject of sentence

To take a warm bath at night helps you relax. (as the subject)

  • the object of sentence

Harry wants to take the dog out.

  • an adjective

That is a place to spend the night in.

Here, it is an adjective modifying a noun.

  • an adverb

He walked to the store to buy some milk.

'To but some milk' is an adverb of purpose.

Tip!

Sometimes, another word (such as an adverb) can come between 'to' and the main verb, creating what is known as a split infinitive.

They decided to quickly go over the lessons.

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