Some verbs have the pattern N + V + to+infinitive:

They agreed to help.
We decided to go.

Some verbs have the pattern N + V + N + to+infinitive:

She told him to go home.
They advised us to wait.

Note: we suggest that you read about Verbs with -ing forms before doing this activity.

Exercise

Comments

Hello Everyone, I am from Kazakhstan and an English Teacher but also a student. I have a question which is not directly related to the Ving or to-infinitive but I hope some of you can help me.

I am finding it difficult to explain why "I'm afraid It's time we left" is correct and why shouldn't it be "I'm afraid It's time we leave". I found the correct answer is "left" as per Oxford Solutions Placement Test and it has left me bewildered.

Could anyone explain this to me please and help me to find the right tutorial for this in this website? Many Thanks, Raj

Hello Raj,

The construction here is indeed as you say:

It's time + subject + verb2 (past form) - It's time we went

There is a similar construction which uses the infinitive with 'to':

It's time + to infinitive - It's time to go

The reason the second form of the verb is used is that we are talking about an unreal situation - a counterfactual situation. When we say 'It's time we left' we are still present - we have not left at the time of speaking. For this we use a past subjunctive form, which looks like the past simple. It is similar to the form used in unreal if-clauses:

If I were a rich man...

 

The confusion arises because the past subjunctive form (which is not really tied to past time) has the same form in English as the past simple form (which is tied to past time).

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

You can find more information on the present and past subjunctive on this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter. I will read more about subjunctive and "revert" with my questions, if any. By the way, is the use of verb "revert" right here? I know it's meaning but not always sure of its usage. Regards, Raj

Hello Raj,

I think 'return' would be appropriate here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,
She told him to go home.
In here"him" indirect object. So,could I say,
She told him go home (without preposition).

Hello dlis,

The structure here is tell + indirect object + to infinitive, so you are correct that it is an indirect object. However, the 'to' is necessary as it is part of the infinitive form.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

hi admin

where it come " to infinitive & ing " tell me clear way.

Hello again taj25,

There are many different kinds of sentences where you can use -ing or infinitive, so I'm afraid there is no easy answer. Our verbs followed by to + infinitive page has a list of verbs that are followed by verbs in the infinitive form, our verbs followed by -ing clauses has a list of verbs that are followed by verbs in the -ing form and our to + infinitive and -ing forms pages explain other ways these forms can be used.

I hope this helps you. If you have a specific question, please feel free to ask us.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, What is the structure of this sentence? : He likes to play football. Is it, N+V+p? Where N = noun, V= verb, p= prepositional phrase.

Hi Unique jain,

This form of analysis (parsing) is really part of linguistics rather than language learning, so it's not part of our focus here on LearnEnglish. However, you can find many parsing sites online which can analyse sentences for you, such as this one, for example.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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