Level: beginner

Verbs with to-infinitives

We use the to-infinitive after certain verbs (verbs followed by to-infinitive), particularly verbs of thinking and feeling:

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

They decided to start a business together.
Remember to turn the lights off.

and verbs of saying:

agree promise refuse threaten

We agreed to meet at the cinema.
Promise to call me every day.

Some verbs are followed by a direct object and then the to-infinitive:

advise
ask
encourage
expect
intend
invite
order
persuade
remind
tell
want
warn
would like/love
would prefer


 

He encouraged his friends to vote for him.
Remind me to give Julia a call.

Verbs with to-infinitive 1

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Verbs with to-infinitive 2

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Infinitive of purpose

We also 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 can also express purpose with in order to and in order not to:

We started our journey early in order to avoid the traffic.
They spoke quietly in order not to wake the children.

or so as to and so as not to:

We started our journey early so as to avoid the traffic.
They spoke quietly so as not to wake the children.

Infinitive of purpose 1

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Infinitive of purpose 2

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Level: intermediate

Adjectives with to-infinitives

We use the to-infinitive after certain adjectives:

able
unable
anxious
due
eager
keen
likely
unlikely
ready
prepared
willing
unwilling

Unfortunately, I was unable to work for over a week.
I'm really tired. I'm ready to go to bed.

Sometimes the to-infinitive gives a reason for the adjective:

amazed
delighted
disappointed
glad
happy
pleased
proud
relieved
sad
sorry
surprised
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.)

We often use it + be followed by an adjective to give opinions:

clever
difficult
easy
foolish
hard
kind
nice
possible
impossible
right
wrong
silly

It's easy to play the piano, but it's very difficult to play well.
He spoke so quickly that it was impossible to understand him.

We use the to-infinitive with these adjectives to give opinions about people:

clever
foolish
kind
nice
right
wrong
silly
 

She was right to complain about that hotel.
You were clever to find the answer so quickly.

We use the preposition for to show who these adjectives refer to:

difficult easy hard possible impossible

It was difficult for us to hear what she was saying.
It is easy for you to criticise other people.

With the other adjectives, we use the preposition of:

It's kind of you to help.
It would be silly of him to spend all his money.

Adjectives with to-infinitive 1

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Adjectives with to-infinitive 2

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Level: advanced

Nouns with to-infinitives

We use the to-infinitive as a postmodifier (see noun phrases) after abstract nouns like:

ability
attempt
chance
desire
failure
need
opportunity
refusal
wish

They gave him an opportunity to escape.
He was annoyed by her refusal to answer.
I have no desire to be rich.
There is no need to shout.

We often use the to-infinitive as a postmodifier after 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.

Nouns with to-infinitive 1

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Nouns with to-infinitive 2

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Comments

Thank's a lot.

Hello.
Infinitive: "to + base form of a verb" or "base form of a verb"?
Different references have different definitions.

Hello amirfd,

There isn't much consistency, I'm afraid. It can be either both words ('to' + base form) or just one word (base form). Here we generally speak of a 'to' infinitive or a 'bare infinitive' to try to make things clear, but it's also a good idea to look for examples to be sure.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Please describe following question. (with reason)
The friendly atmosphere of the school ............... .
1.made there a pleasure studying
2.where it was a pleasure studying
3.made it a pleasure to study there
4. that it was made a pleasure to study there

Hello amirfd,

What do you think the correct answer is? We are happy to help you learn, but we ask that you explain to us what you think the answer is and why so that we can better help you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello.
I'm not sure. My answer is 3. Because it completes the sentence in terms of meaning.
But I only know the following structures.
make + object + bare infinitive
subject + make + object + adjective
object + to be + made + to + infinitive
Please describe this structure : make+noun+a/an+noun+to+infinitive
thank's a lot.

Hello amirfd,

The construction here is quite simple when you break it down. I'm sure you're familiar with the construction 'It's a pleasure to be here'. This construction is the same with the addition of 'make' in the sense of 'cause to be': 'seeing you made it a pleasure to be here'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you.

Hello

He gives me.

_OR_

He gives to me.

Please explain

Hello INS-PRAKASH,

Both 'give me' and 'give to me' are correct and the meaning is the same. However, there should be a direct object:

 

give me [something]

give [something] to me

 

He gives me a lot of help.

He gives a lot of help to me.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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