Level: beginner

Many verbs in English are followed by the infinitive with to. Some of these verbs take the pattern:

  • Verb + to + infinitive

We planned to take a holiday.
She decided to stay at home.

Others verbs take the pattern:

  • Verb + noun + to + infinitive

She wanted the children to learn the piano.
I told him to ring the police.

Two very common verbs – make and let – are followed by the infinitive without to. They take the pattern:

  • Verb + noun + infinitive

My parents made me come home early.
They wouldn't let me stay out late.

The verb dare can be followed by the infinitive with or without to:

  • Verb (+ to) + infinitive

I didn't dare (to) go out after dark.

verb + to + infinitive

Some verbs are followed by the infinitive with to:

I decided to go home as soon as possible.
We all wanted to have more English classes.

Common verbs with this pattern are:

  • verbs of thinking and feeling:
choose
decide
expect
forget
hate
hope
intend
learn
like
love
mean
plan
prefer
remember
want
would like/love
  • verbs of saying:
agree promise refuse threaten
  • others
arrange
attempt
fail
help
manage
tend
try
 
Verb + to + infinitive 1

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Verb + to + infinitive 2

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verb + noun + to + infinitive

Some verbs are followed by a noun and the infinitive with to:

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 that warn is normally used with not:

The police warned everyone not to drive too fast.

  • verbs of wanting and liking:
hate
intend
like
love
mean
prefer
want
would like/love
  • others:
allow
enable
expect
force
get
 
teach
 

Many of the verbs above 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.

Verb + noun + to + infinitive 1

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Verb + noun + to + infinitive 2

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Level: intermediate

make and let

The verbs make and let are followed by a noun and the infinitive without to:

They made him pay for the things he had broken.
The doctor made me wait for almost an hour.
They let you go in free at the weekend.
Will you let me come in?

But the passive form of make is followed by the infinitive with to:

He was made to pay for the things he had broken.
I was made to wait for almost an hour.

let has no passive form. We use allow instead:

We were allowed to go in free at the weekend.
I was allowed to go in.

dare

The verb dare is hardly ever found in positive sentences. It is almost always used in negative sentences and questions.

When it is used with an auxiliary or a modal verb, dare can be followed by the infinitive with or without to:

I didn't dare (to) disturb him.
Who would dare (to) accuse him?

But when there is no auxiliary or modal, dare is followed by the infinitive without to:

Nobody dared disturb him.
I daren't ask him.

make, let and dare

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Comments

sir
please help me... clear my doubt
i can't differentiate btw when to use "to+infinitive" and when to use "gerund" .......... a list of word given in many books to cram those word and use accordingly......... but i want to know the main concept behind it. i will read all thing please give me guidance

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,

Peter

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.

Sorry!

All the best,
Kirk
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,

Peter

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,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you!

Hello sir

children are meant to be loved .

Children are meant to love.

Which z correct and translation?

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