Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lesson 44: Recognizing an Infinitive - a Review


REVIEW: You have learned that VERBALS are forms of verbs that function as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. Although verbals can function as other parts of speech, they retain some of the properties of verbs. When a modifier or complement is used with a verbal, a VERBAL PHRASE is formed. Now you will learn the third kind of verbals.


An INFINITIVE is a verbal that is usually preceded by the word to. An infinitive may function as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. The infinitive has some of the characteristics of verbs. It expresses action or condition, and it may be followed by a complement.

Acting as a Noun:

  • To see is to believe.
  • I want to go.

Acting as an Adjective:

  • The news to read is about the unexplained phenomenon.
  • The man to see is Justin.

Acting as an Adverb:

  • It is hard to condemn somebody.
  • I watched the circus to satisfy my curiosity.


Sometimes, the infinitive is used without the word to.

  • Do you dare climb the mountain alone?
  • Shall we just sit and watch the parade go by?


*Do not confuse infinitives with prepositional phrases. Remember that "to" plus a noun or pronoun is a prepositional phrase while "to" plus a verb is an infinitive phrase.

Infinitive Phrase:

  • I plan to enroll this summer.
  • I whistled to inform the group that I'm coming.

Prepositional Phrase:

  • She referred her proposal to the manager.
  • He gave the gift to me.


~end of lesson~

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