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

Hello Shaban Nafea,

The verb 'try' can be intransitive (having no object) or transitive (requiring an object. In this use (meaning 'attempt' and followed by an infinitive) it is intransitive and therefore there is no passive form.

When 'try' is used with the meaning 'sample' or 'test' it is a transitive verb and so has a passive form:

I tried the soup and it was awful!

The soup was tried by me and it was awful!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you,Peter but can't I use the passive form with "bite" ? How can I do this in the sentence " The dog tried to bite me yesterday"?

Hello Shaban Nafea,

It is possible to follow 'try' with a passive form but not to make 'try' itself passive. For example, imagine a situation in which a person wants to be sacked from their job and is doing everything to make their boss angry. We could say the following:

She tried very hard to be sacked from her job.

It's a very unusual form. As far as 'bite' goes, you could need to think of a situation in which a person wants to be bitten but finds it difficult to achieve. Then you might say:

He tried to be bitten.

Again, however, this is a very strange sentence. You need to imagine a highly unlikely context and the whole thing is rather artificial. You can see these sentences with other verbs from time to time:

I want to be informed immediately.

I hope to be chosen for the team.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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