We use the to-infinitive:

• to express purpose (to answer "Why...?"):

He bought some flowers to give to his wife.
He locked the door to keep everyone out.

We sometimes say in order to or in order not to:

We set off early in order to avoid the traffic.
They spoke quietly in order not to wake the children

… or we can say so as to or so as not to:

We set off early so as to avoid the traffic.
They spoke quietly so as not to wake the children.

• after certain verbs (see verbs followed by infinitive), particularly verbs of thinking and feeling:

choose, decide, expect, forget, hate, hope, intend, learn, like,
love, mean, plan, prefer, remember, want, would like, would love

… and verbs of saying:

agree, promise, refuse

They decided to start a business together.
Remember to turn the lights out.

Some verbs are followed by a direct object and the infinitive(see verbs followed by infinitive):

advise, ask, encourage, invite, order, persuade, remind, tell, warn,
expect, intend, would prefer, want, would like

She reminded me to turn the lights out.
He encouraged his friends to vote for him.

• after certain adjectives.

Sometimes the to-infinitive gives a reason for the adjective:

  • disappointed
  • glad
  • sad
  • happy
  • anxious
  • pleased
  • surprised
  • proud
  • unhappy

We were happy to come to the end of our journey
= We were happy because we had come to the end of our journey
John was surprised to see me
= He was surprised because he saw me

Other adjectives with the to-infinitive are:

  • able
  • unable
  • due
  • eager
  • keen
  • likely
  • unlikely
  • ready
  • prepared
  • unwilling
  • willing

Unfortunately I was unable to work for over a week.
I am really tired. I’m ready to go to bed.

We often use the to-infinitive with these adjectives after it to give opinions:

  • difficult
  • easy
  • possible
  • impossible
  • hard
  • right
  • wrong
  • kind
  • nice
  • clever
  • silly
  • foolish

It’s easy to play the piano, but it’s very difficult to play well.
He spoke so quickly it was impossible to understand him.

We use the preposition for to show who these adjectives refer to:

  • difficult
  • easy
  • possible
  • impossible
  • hard

It was difficult for us to hear what she was saying.
It is easy for you to criticise other people.

We use the preposition of with other adjectives:

It’s kind of you to help.
It would be silly of him to spend all his money.

• As a postmodifier (see noun phrases) after abstract nouns like:

  • ability
  • desire
  • need
  • wish
  • attempt
  • failure
  • opportunity
  • chance
  • intention

I have no desire to be rich.
They gave him an opportunity to escape.
She was annoyed by her failure to answer the question correctly.

• We often use a to-infinitive as a postmodifier after an indefinite pronoun (See indefinite pronouns):

When I am travelling I always take something to read.
I was all alone. I had no one to talk to.
There is hardly anything to do in most of these small towns.


 

Exercise

Comments

Hello,

Please help me understand the following grammar point.

I refer to an example given in "As or Like" lesson. ( posting the question here since it appears comments are disabled in that lesson)

The example was, "I tried using salt as you suggested but the stain still didn’t come out".

My question is, shouldn't it be " I tried to use..." as we are taking about an action that failed. Doesn't "try + ing" suggest that we did try something and it worked out?

Thank you

Donald.

Hello Donald
Both forms are possible here, depending on what you mean. If you want to speak more about your attempt to remove the stain, then using a to-infinitive is the correct form to use.
But it's also possible to see the salt as an experiment, that is, as something that might or might now work. In this case, the gerund (-ing form) is the correct one to use.
You can see more examples of both forms on the Cambridge Dictionary's page for 'try' (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/try).
All the best
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Great!. Thank you Kirk.

thank you very much sir. It is very kind of you to reply me promptly.
But sir these structures are given in Raymond Murphy and Martin hewings as well.
e.g She admitted having stolen the money. ( page 104 second edition intermediate English grammar)

2.He remembered having arrived at the party. (page 78 Advance English grammar by Martin hewings).

and really thanks again.

Sorry It shoul be I remember to have met you in london last year.

Sir I have been looking for a solution to the following problem.
Is it right to say- I remember you to have met in london last year. and with other verbs like deny, regret , report..
Because I am quite sure about using this structure with verbs like seem appear , claim.

Hello Deven shukla,

I'm afraid 'you to have met' is not a correct form with any of those verbs. You can use the -ing form:

I remember (deny/regret) meeting you in London last year. 

 

'Report' can also be followed by the -ing form, but since it describes a particular action and not a feeling or awareness, we would be unlikely to use it in the present simple:

I reported meeting you in London last year.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir I have read two structures in Intermediate english grammar by Raymond murphy.
She admitted stealing the money= She admitted having stolen the money.

I am wondering that can I use "she admitted to have stolen the money."? Because perfect infinitive, like here "to have admitted" shows the actinon done before the main verb.

Hello Deven shukla

No, I'm afraid that's not correct. In 'admit to something', 'to' is a preposition -- this is why the -ing form is used after it, i.e. why 'she admitted to having stolen the money' is correct and 'she admitted to have stolen the money' is not.

The other structure that Murphy mentions is an alternative structure that means the same thing.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there, i didn't understand why we use "to walk" in this sentence ,can you help me ? :)
Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon.

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