Infinitive and Infinitive Phrase
An INFINITIVE is a verb form that becomes an adjective, adverb, or noun in a sentence. Infinitives must (except in the case of a split infinitive) with the word TO followed by a VERB.
To + Verb = Infinitive
To + walk = to walk
- Infinitives can appear anywhere in a sentence.
- Infinitives can be subjects, objects of prepositions, direct objects, etc.
- Infinitives may have a comma associated with it or not. It depends how the infinitive is being used.
Steps in finding the infinitive:
- Read the sentence
- Look for TO plus a verb.
- To eat is necessary to live.
[to pluse eat = to eat (infinitive)]
[to plus live = to live (infinitive)]
- Ingrid told us to go to the store.
[There is no infinitive. To the store is a prepositional phrase. ***Remember, an infinitive is TO + VERB!]
An INFINITIVE PHRASE starts with an infinitive and to that infinitive can be added prepositional phrases, adjective, and adverbs.
***An infinitive phrase may or may not employ the use of commas. It all depends how the infinitive is being used in a sentence.
Steps in finding the infinitive phrase:
- Read the sentence first.
- Look for TO + VERB.
- When you find the infinitive, add any phrases and modifiers that logically fit with that infinitive. TRUST your ears!
- To run a mile a day is very good exercise.
[The infinitive is TO RUN---a mile a day fits logically with the infinitive. It all sounds like it fits together. So the infinitive phrase is: To run a mile a day is very good exercise.
- Toni told us to go into the garage now!
[The infinitive phrase is to go into the garage now!]
A split infinitive happens when the writer adds and adverb between the TO and the verb. The writer SPLIT the infinitive in two.
- To boldly go where no human has gone before.
[The adverb boldly splits the infinitive in half.]
Find the infinitive phrases:
- The doctor told us to go into the lab.
- To talk all the time prevents you from listening.
- Ryan, to get the point across to us, showed us how to use chop sticks correctly so that we wouldn’t insult our Japanese hosts.