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.


Hello tonystar95,

The gerund form (which is one kind of -ing form) always functions as a noun. The infinitive can have many roles in the sentence (nominal (noun), adjectival and adverbial being the most common).

You can read information on the -ing form here and on the infinitive here. Very often it is the verb which precedes these forms which determines which form is appropriate.

I hope those links are helpful. If you have any particular uncertainties then I think it would help if you provided a concrete example. It's not possible for us to explain all uses of forms in the comments sections.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello trickard1000,

I'm afraid there is no simple answer to this question. The page you refer to looks useful, but I think you'll find that it won't help you in all situations. Neither will our page, for that matter! Unfortunately there is no easy or short set of rules that will tell you what to do in every situation.


All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir
Thank you so much for your previous explanation, it is always very very helpful to me and encourage to study English more. In that respect, I want to ask a question about using to +infinitive.
1) We expected to be late.
Can I write this sentence mentioned below?
2) We expected, it would be late.
Do two sentences have same meaning?
If the two sentences have same meaning could you please explain to me why we leave out, would, in first one? And in what kind of situations we can use, to be, in a sentence.
Is " to be " a abstract fom of the "would be" in first one?
Thanks a lot sir.

Hello Mr. Black,

The meanings of these sentences are quite different:

We expected to be late.

Here the lateness refers to the speaker ('we'). The sentence can be rephrased as We expected that we would be late.

We expected it would be late.

Here, the lateness refers to something else ('it') and not the speaker ('we'). The speaker may be talking about a bus or train, for example, which is not on time.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I wanted to ask a question. I was studying phrasal verbs and I found that one of ''work over'' definitions is: ''examine carefully''. Can I define it: ''to examine carefully'' or ''to examine careful''. Why?

Hello MCWSL,

You need to say 'examine carefully' because an adverb is needed.

The adverb 'carefully' describes the action of the verb; it tells us how to examine. Adjectives are mainly used to describe nouns and do not describe actions/verbs.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you!

Hello sir

children are meant to be loved .

Children are meant to love.

Which z correct and translation?

Hell Sunny21parikh,

Both of these are possible, but the meaning is different. The first sentence has a passive verb form and means that other people (parents, for example) should love children. The second sentence has an active verb form and means that children should love other people (their parents, for example).

I'm afraid we don't translate on LearnEnglish.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team