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Verbs that can be followed by infinitives


afford

agree

appear

arrange

ask

attempt

(can't) bear

beg

begin

care

choose

consent

continue

dare

decide

expect

fail

forget

goon

happen

hate

help

hesitate

hope

intend

learn

like

love

manage

mean

neglect

offer

prefer

prepare

pretend

promise

propose

refuse

regret

remember

seem

start

swear

trouble

try

want

wish


E.g. It's beginning to rain.

Idon't want to seeyou again.

She seems to be crying.

I expect to have finishedby tomorrow evening.

The car needs to be cleaned.

b)after adjectives

v reactions and feelings

Infinitives are often used after adjectives which describe people's reactions and feelings.

E.g.I'm pleased to seeyou.

I was shocked to seehow ill he was.

 

c)other adjectives

Besides adjectives referring to reactions and feelings, many other common adjectives can be followed by infinitives. Examples are right, wrong, stupid, certain, welcome, careful, due, fit, able, likely, lucky.

E.g.We were right to startearly.

I was stupid to believehim.

d)superlatives etc

Superlatives can be followed by an infinitive structure.

E.g.He'sthe oldestathlete ever to winan Olympic gold medal. (=... who has ever won...)

v This structure is also common with first, second, third etc, next, last and only.

E.g.Who was the firstperson to climbEverest without oxygen?

She's the onlyscientist to have wonthree Nobel prizes.

Note that this structure is only possible when the noun with the superlative has a subject relationship with the following verb. In other cases, an infinitive cannot be used.

E.g.Is this the first time that you have stayed here?

(NOT ... the first time for you to stayhere)

e)subject of clause = object of infinitive

Some adjectives can be used with infinitives in a special structure, in which the subject of the clause is really the object of the infinitive. Examples are easy, difficult, impossible, good, ready, and adjectives after enough and too.

E.g.Japanese is difficultfor Europeans to learn.

(= It is difficult for Europeans to learn Japanese.)

Notethat easy, difficult and impossible cannot be used in this structure when the subject of the clause is the subjectof the infinitive. Other structures have to be used.

E.g.Iron rusts easily, (NOT Iron is easy to rust.)

This material can't possibly catch fire.

(NOT This material is impossible to catchfire.)

v The structure often ends with a preposition.

E.g.She's nice to talk to.He's very easy to get on with.

Note that we do not put an object pronoun after the infinitive or preposition in these cases.

E.g.She's nice to talk to.(NOT She's nice to talk to her.)

v When the adjective is used before a noun, the infinitive usually comes after the noun.

E.g.It's a good wine to keep,(NOT It's a good to keep wine.)

f)after nouns and pronouns

 

v nouns related to verbs

We can use infinitives after some nouns which are related to verbs that canbe followed by infinitives (e.g. wish, decide, need).



E.g.Itold her about my decision to leave.

(= / told her that I had decided to leave.)

Is there any need to askJoyce? (= Do we need to askJoyce?)

Notethat not all related verbs and nouns are followed by the samestructures. Compare:

E.g. -She prefers to livealone.

I understand her preference for livingalone.

v nouns related to adjectives

We can also use infinitives after some nouns which are related to adjectives, or which have an adjectival sense.

E.g.It's a pleasure to seeyou again. (= It's pleasantto see you again.)

The car's a pig to start. (=... difficultto start.)

v purpose

An infinitive can be used after a noun, or an indefinite pronoun such as something, anything, to explain the purpose or intended effect of a particular thing: what it does, or what somebody does with it. The noun or pronoun can be the subject or object of the infinitive.

Subjects

E.g.Have you got a key to openthis door?

Objects

E.g. Is there any milk to puton the cornflakes?

If the noun or pronoun is the object of the infinitive, we do notadd an objectpronoun after the infinitive.

E.g.He needs a place to live in.(NOT .. .a place to live in it.)

v quantifiers

Quantifiers like enough, too much/many/little/few, plenty etc are often followed by noun + infinitive.

E.g.There was enough light to seewhat I was doing.

There's too much snow (forus) to be ableto drive.

v infinitive with preposition

When a noun is followed by infinitive+ preposition,another structure is possible:

noun + preposition + whom/which + infinitive.This is very formal.

E.g.Mary needs a friend to play with.

OR Mary needs a friend with whom to play.

! This is not possible when there is no preposition.

v the life to come etc

In expressions like the life to come (= 'life after death'), the world to come, his wife to be (= 'his future wife'), the infinitive has the same meaning as arelative clause with be (- the life/world that is to come,his wife that is to be).

g) infinitive complements:active and passive infinitive with similar meaning

v obligation

The structure noun + infinitivecan express the idea of obligation. Active and passive infinitives are both possible.

E.g.I've got letters to write.

If the subject of the clause is the person who has to do the action, active infinitives are used.

E.g.I've got work to do.(NOT – I’ve got work to be done)

If the subject is the person or thing that the action is done to, passive infinitives are normally used after be.

E.g.The cleaning is to be finishedby midday, (NOT ... is to finish...)

v to be seen/found/congratulated etc

The passive infinitives of see and find are normal after be.

E.g.He was nowhere to be seen/found,(NOT Hewas nowhere to see/find)

We can use a similar structure to express value judgements with verbs like congratulate, encourage, avoid.

E.g.You are to be congratulated. (NOT.. . to congratulate.)

Note the common expression to blame, meaning “responsible” (for some unfortunate event).

E.g.Nobody was to blamefor the accident.

v nothing to do and nothing to be done etc

Note the difference between There's nothing to do and There's nothing to bedone.

E.g.I'm bored - there's nothing to do.(= There are no entertainments.)

There's nothing to be done- we'll have to buy a new one.

{= There's no way of putting it right.)

h)infinitive complements: after who, what, how etc

v indirect questions

In indirect speech , we can use an infinitive after the question words who, what, where etc (but not usually why). This structure expresses ideas such as obligation and possibility.

E.g. I wonder who to invite. (-...who I shouldinvite.)

Can you tell me how to getto the station?

(-... how I canget to the station?)

v direct questions

We do not usually begin a direct question with How to...? What to...? etc.

After question words, we often use shall and should.

How shallI tell her? (NOT HOW to tell her?)

What shallwe do? (NOT What to do?)

v titles

How to..., What to... etc are often found as titles for instructions, information leaflets, books etc.

E.g.HOW TO IMPROVEYOUR PRONUNCIATION

WHAT TO DOIF FIRE BREAKS OUT

 

 


Date: 2016-01-14; view: 225


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