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.



I wonder if the verb "use" belongs to the list of verbs followed by infinitive, as in "I used the key to open the door." If so, what is the function of the infinitive? Does it modify "key"?

Hello Vahid82,

It's great that you are trying to make sense of this, but 'use' is a verb that is used in many ways and isn't always used with an infinitive. In the sentence you ask about, the infinitive form is an infinitive of purpose, which is explained on our to + infinitive page. 

Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,
Is grammar everything for learning english or there are some other terms(that grammar does not include) too?

Hello Jaspreet Brar,

Grammar is the system which describes how words are put together, and it's of course impossible to learn a language well without learning it, but it's certainly not everything. Vocabulary, for example, is also essential.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirk

It Makes perfect sense. I think I might have figured it out now: the infinitive in that sentence has actually replaced the adverb clause.

A dog tried to bite me yesterday.
What's the passive ?
I tried to be bitten yesterday.
I was tried to be bitten yesterday.
Or I was about to be bitten yesterday.

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!



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.



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.