We 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 sometimes say in order to or in order not to:

We set off early in order to avoid the traffic.
They spoke quietly in order not to wake the children

… or we can say so as to or so as not to:

We set off early so as to avoid the traffic.
They spoke quietly so as not to wake the children.

• after certain verbs (see verbs followed by infinitive), particularly verbs of thinking and feeling:

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

… and verbs of saying:

agree, promise, refuse

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

Some verbs are followed by a direct object and the infinitive(see verbs followed by infinitive):

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

She reminded me to turn the lights out.
He encouraged his friends to vote for him.

• after certain adjectives.

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

  • disappointed
  • glad
  • sad
  • happy
  • anxious
  • pleased
  • surprised
  • proud
  • 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

Other adjectives with the to-infinitive are:

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

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

We often use the to-infinitive with these adjectives after it to give opinions:

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

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

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

  • difficult
  • easy
  • possible
  • impossible
  • hard

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

We use the preposition of with other adjectives:

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

• As a postmodifier (see noun phrases) after abstract nouns like:

  • ability
  • desire
  • need
  • wish
  • attempt
  • failure
  • opportunity
  • chance
  • intention

I have no desire to be rich.
They gave him an opportunity to escape.
She was annoyed by her failure to answer the question correctly.

• We often use a to-infinitive as a postmodifier after an indefinite pronoun (See 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.


 

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

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

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

Hi
In the sentence, "I want to play cricket", is "cricket" an object of "to play"? Can to-infinitives have objects as transitive verbs have?

Similarly, can to-infinitives be used as objects of transitive verbs? For example, in the sentence, "We want to play", is "to play" an object of the verb "want"?

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