verbs followed by to + infinitive

 

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.

Comments

Dear the LearnEnglish Team members,

1) Would you please tell me if we can leave out “rather” in the following sentence structures?

a) I prefer to swim rather than go camping.
b) I would prefer to swim rather than go camping.

2) Can “rather than” be used instead of “to” in the following sentence structure?
a) I prefer / would prefer swimming to going camping.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you in advance.

Rgds,
bnpl

Hello bnpl,

1) No, using just 'than' in these two sentences would make them incorrect. A more common alternative is: 'I prefer swimming to camping'. Note that the -ing form of the verbs must be used here – it's as if you are comparing two nouns (e.g. 'I prefer apples to oranges').

2) With 'prefer', yes. With 'would prefer' it sounds a bit unnatural to me, though I believe it's correct.

By the way, we'll get to your other comments as we can. This one is about as long as we can normally handle.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Kirk,

I’m pleased to receive your reply. Thank you so much.

I understand your team is too busy to answer all of the questions very soon. I’ll wait patiently. Thank you!

Rgds,
bnpl

Hi Teacher
Please explain to me why these type of grammar are used in these sentences
1. "Non-defining relative clauses are more often used in written English than in spoken English." What is the reason why you write it down in "written english", but not "writing english"
2. " Why not be the first person posting your comment on this website, and see it posted here". Why is the word "posted" used as an past participle form? Is it correct if i use "posting" word in this sentence?
Thank you so much

Hello mi_lo90,

I'd suggest you look up 'written' and 'writing' in our Cambridge Dictionaries Online search box on the right. You'll see that 'written' is a past participle or adjective (in this case, it's an adjective telling us what kind of English) and that 'writing' is a noun or part of a verb. Neither a noun or verb makes sense in this position.

'See it posting here' is a possible form, though a bit strange. Verbs of perceptions such as 'see' are often followed by a noun and an -ing verb form, e.g. 'I saw Sarah doing her homework'. This implies that I saw the action in process. Unless there is some kind of internet problem, normally a comment on a website is posted very quickly, so it's a bit strange to say 'I see it posting'. We'd also more likely use a passive form in this case: 'I see it being posted'.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

He knows to drive .Isn't the word 'know ' a verb, and drive a 'to infinitive

Hello lakshusha,

Yes, you are correct. However, the correct sentence would be 'He knows how to drive'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Sir,

What is the criteria for using a to infinitive after like or love verbs, they are really appearing in the first list of the verbs which have to be followed by a -ing form. (see next chapter)

thank you in advance.

Hello JMRA.,

In general, there is no difference in meaning between the use of the infintive or -ing form after 'like' and 'love', though the -ing form is preferred when we are speaking about a single specific occasion (e.g. I liked playing the piano with her last week) and the infinitive is preferred when speaking about choices or habits (I liked to play the piano with her when I was in primary school).

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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