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Lesson Seventeen

Infinitives

Infinitives look like verbs, but they actually function as nouns. Consider the following sentences:

  • I like pizza. ("pizza" is a noun)
  • I like to eat. ("to eat" is an infinitive)
  • I like to eat pizza. ("pizza" is the object of the infinitive)

Infinitives can be made with just about any verb: to do, to be, to go, to make, to take, to see, to get--as long as you use the simple form of the verb. Infinitives can't be used with past tense or continuous forms:

to went, to going

Verbs such as need and want often use the infinitive:

  • Q: What do you want to do today?
  • A: I want to go to the park.
  • Q: Is there something you need to get at the store?
  • A: Yes, I need to get some milk.

 

 

I like to listen to the radio.

(Infinitives are often used after the verb "like.")

radio
He likes to eat popcorn when he goes to see a movie.
popcorn

To play in the snow is one of life's greatest pleasures.

(The infinitive appears at the beginning of the sentences. This sounds very formal.)

children

He went downstairs to get some coffee.

(The infinitive is often used to explain why someone does something.)

morning

He plays the guitar in order to relax.

("in order" is similar to "because" and it introduces an explanation.)

 

guitar

 

Here's an exercise for you to try. Click here.

 

Next: Lesson Eighteen

gerunds

 

 
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