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

Section: 

Comments

hello Sir!

may i ask?

how do we use the gerund and infinitive?? im still confusing
thanks :)

Hello candyjelly26,

The gerund is a noun made from a verb:

travel (verb)

travelling (gerund, noun)

Gerunds are used in the same way any nouns can be used - as subject and objects.

The infinitive is used in many ways, as shown on this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,
WhIch one is correct
A. Am not confused
B. Am not confuse
And
1.am getting tense
2.am getting tensed

Hello Ajaz ajju,

I'm afraid we don't answer questions like this for users as we would end up doing everyone's homework for them! Why don't you tell us which ones you think are correct, and why, and we'll be happy to tell you if you are right!

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir I think
A and 1 are correct.
Am I right ?
if not please tell me why ?

Hello Ajaz ajju,

I agree with you - those are the correct answers. Well done.

We use 'confused' and 'tense' here because they are adjectives; 'confuse' and 'tensed' are verbs.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Thanks a lot for this tips. Therefore, I have a question...In wich specific situations I can use the verbs love and hate + infinitive or followed by ing. ?
Best wishes
Etiene

Hello etienemacedo,

When these verbs are followed by -ing we are generally talking about enjoying the process. When they are followed by to + infinitive we are generally talking about the kind of habits or routines we like. For example:

I like jogging in the morning. [I enjoy the activity]

I like to jog in the morning. [This is a habit I try to maintain]

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, all.

I can't stand listening to music.
I can't stand to listen to music.
Is there is difference in meaning? because they are two phrases in the dictionary.
Can you stand listening to music?
I s this correct question ? or simply I should say :Do you like listening to music?
thanks,
Inas

Hello Inas,

As far as I know, 'stand' with this meaning is followed by a noun phrase or a verb in the -ing form, not a to + infinitive. So the first sentence is correct, but the second is not. The question you ask about is grammatically correct, but is not used because 'stand' with this meaning is only used in the negative. As you suggest, you should use the verb 'like' to ask a question instead. You can see more example sentences by looking up 'stand' in the Cambridge Dictionary using the search box on the right side of this page.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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