Learn about the infinitive form of a verb and do the exercises to practise using it.
Verbs with to-infinitives
We use the to-infinitive after certain verbs (verbs followed by to-infinitive), particularly verbs of thinking and feeling:
They decided to start a business together.
Remember to turn the lights off.
and verbs of saying:
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:
He encouraged his friends to vote for him.
Remind me to give Julia a call.
- Verbs with to-infinitive 1
- Verbs with to-infinitive 2
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
- Infinitive of purpose 2
Adjectives with to-infinitives
We use the to-infinitive after certain adjectives:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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
- Adjectives with to-infinitive 2
Nouns with to-infinitives
We use the to-infinitive as a postmodifier (see noun phrases) after abstract nouns like:
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
- Nouns with to-infinitive 2