1 Some verbs are followed by the to-infinitive:

I decided to go home as soon as possible.
We all wanted to have more English classes.

Common verbs followed by the to-infinitive are:

Verbs of thinking and feeling:

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

Verbs of saying:

  • agree
  • promise
  • refuse

Other common verbs are:

  • arrange
  • attempt
  • fail
  • help
  • manage
  • tend
  • try
  • want

2 Some verbs are followed by a noun and the to-infinitive:

She asked him to send her a text message.
He wanted all his friends to come to his party.

Common verbs with this pattern are:

Verbs of saying:

  • advise
  • ask
  • encourage
  • invite
  • order
  • persuade
  • remind
  • tell
  • warn *

*Note: The verb warn is normally used with not
The police warned everyone not to drive too fast.

Verbs of wanting or liking:

  • expect
  • intend
  • would
  • prefer
  • want
  • would like

Other verbs with this pattern are:

  • allow
  • enable
  • force
  • get
  • teach

3. Passive infinitive

Many of these verbs are sometimes followed by a passive infinitive
(to be + past participle):

I expected to be met when I arrived at the station.
They wanted to be told if anything happened.
I don’t like driving myself. I prefer to be driven.

 

Activity 1:

Match the 'to infinitive' clauses to the sentence beginnings.

 

Activity 2:

Match the 'to infinitive' clauses to the sentence beginnings.

 

Activity 3:

Match the 'to infinitive' clauses to the sentence beginnings.

Section: 

Comments

It's being said that used/ought is always followed by infinitive 'to + v1' but in the sentence " They ought to have insisted on some compensation. " why the word "insisted" is of a different form. If "have" is the main verb here then what role "insisted" is playing here. Also please clarify if there are cases where used/ought is followed by verb form other than v1.

Hello shivamgetz,

I'm afraid I don't agree with that rule. While 'ought' and 'used' can both be followed by a present infinitive ('to + v1'), they are also used in other, different ways. The sentence you cite is an example -- in it, 'ought' is followed by a perfect infinitive ('to have insisted') and this is correct. 'used' is not followed by a perfect infinitive.

I'd suggest you read up on 'ought to' and 'used to' by following the links.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello The LearnEnglish Team,
I have a silly question about the sentence "They ordered him to lie flat on the floor with his hands behind his back."
In which position did they order him to lie? on his back or stomach?

Hello Delta,

I would say on his stomach. I suppose it's possible that one could lie on the floor on one's back with one's hands behind one's back, but most of the time it would be on one's stomach.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Yes, I agree with you. Thank you, Kirk.

Hi,

Quoting your example above, "He wanted all his friends to come to his party", which illustrates the concept that some verbs are followed by a noun and the to-infinitive. My question are:

a) Concerning the sentence above, is it right to say that the infinitve phrase "to come to his party" is the direct object of the verb "wanted", and that "all his friends" is the actor or subject of the infinitive phrase?
b) Or is it a case where "all his friends to come to his party" is the direct obejct of the verb "wanted"?
c) In addition, my last questions concerns the matter of direct and indirect objects. Using the same sentence, am I right to say that the infinitve phrase "to come to his party" is the direct object of the verb "wanted", and that "all his friends" is the indirect object?

Thanks!

Regards,
Timothy

Hi Timothy555,

These are questions which go beyond the scope of our site. Our goal here is to help learners improve their English, not to provide analysis of this type, which is really a part of linguistics. There are other sites which delve into such questions, such as herehere, here and here, for example.

Be warned that you will find different interpretations as infinitives can have many functions: adverbial, adjectival and nominal, to name but three.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
I looked the word " postpone" up in the Cambridge Dictionary and I found that it is only used with " until", like in "The exams have been postponed until next month." My question is that would it be wrong if I use " to " with " postpone",i.e. Can I say " The exams have been postponed to next month"?

Thanks in advance,
Abdulllah

Hello Abdullah,

Thanks for looking that up in the dictionary. I don't think using 'to' instead of 'until' would cause too much confusion for most people, though really 'to' tends to be used to explain the purpose of a postponement and 'until' is used to indicate the new time/date. For example, 'The meeting was postponed until Monday to give the chairwoman time to arrive'. 'for' is also common, though used to talk about a length of time rather than the new time/date, e.g. 'The meeting was postponed for three days to allow the chairwoman ...'

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

Would you please explain to me how and when to use 'to be' in a sentence? I often see it in sentences but not sure what does it really mean.

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