Questions about verbs in their basic (unmarked) forms, such as “be”, “do”, “have”, or “sit”, sometimes introduced by the particle “to” and other times used by itself.

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3answers
57 views

“It takes” + infinitive vs. present participle

Is it grammatically correct to say "It took me five hours travelling to the US"? Most people would say "It took me five hours to travel to the US." I wonder if the infinitive is always the only ...
3
votes
5answers
61 views

“It is to be discussed”, what is the infinitive doing in this sentence?

It is to be discussed. Is be + infinitive forming the future tense here? You are to be dressed and ready by 8:00. I was thinking it's almost commanding (or speaking of a command) but this ...
2
votes
2answers
306 views

Can we use to-infinitive after 'have trouble'?

Given the example: I have trouble speaking English. Can we use both present participle (speaking) and to-infinitive (to speak) after have trouble? If both are allowed, do the two have the same ...
1
vote
2answers
90 views

What is the function of this “to” here?

Old people did not know enough once, perchance, to fetch fresh fuel to keep the fire a-going; new people put a little dry wood under a pot, and are whirled round the globe with the speed of birds, ...
25
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10answers
38k views

What is the correct way to use infinitive after the verb “help”: with or without “to”?

What is the correct way to use infinitive after the verb "help": with or without "to"? For example: Please, help me to understand this. or: Please, help me understand this.
1
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5answers
403 views

“stop to do something” vs. “continue to do something”

A transcript of a recent speech by Barack Obama contains the following sentence: Boston police, firefighters, and first responders as well as the National Guard responded heroically, and continue ...
3
votes
2answers
102 views

Do the -ing and to-infinitive “verbs” that follow catenative verbs always take the grammatical function of “noun”?

I'm wondering whether or not the verb form that follows a catenative verb has the grammatical function of a noun or of a verb, and whether or not it depends on the first catenative verb. "I like to ...
5
votes
4answers
782 views

Catenatives followed by infinitives and gerunds

What is the difference in meaning when the catenative verb “like” is followed by an infinitive, or by a gerund? For example: Do you like ski jumping? vs. Do you like to ski jump? Also, ...
2
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1answer
46 views

A question about “to becoming” [duplicate]

Would this sentence be correct? Being scared is the first step to becoming free. The more I look at it, the less clear it becomes.
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Is it grammatical to say of some potential meaning that it is “able to be said” or “trying to be said”?

A recent commenter on a recent word-search question nominated a term as “an even better word for what is trying to be said.” This seems to me to attribute intention to something—a ...
11
votes
2answers
48k views

How to use “to + V-ing”?

I saw some scenarios that used the structure "to + V-ing", such as the following: Looking forward to hearing. Disposed to using few words. I would like to apply what I learned in school to helping ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

What part of speech is “to” when attached to an infintive? [duplicate]

For example, in "to see", what part of speech is "to"?
0
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3answers
93 views

Can “may” be an infinitive

I was reading this article http://www.organics.org/8-beers-that-you-should-stop-drinking-immediately/ when I saw Propylene Glycol is controversial, and is said to may be potentially harmful to ...
1
vote
1answer
725 views

How do I identify “infinitive clauses/phrases” and “subjects”?

In sentences such as the following, there is (as I understand it) an infinitive clause and an infinitive phrase. Which part is the infinitive clause and which part is the infinitive phrase? And what ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Are modal verbs finite or non-finite?

According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, finite ... 2 Grammar (of a verb form) having a specific tense, number, and person. non-finite ... Grammar (of a verb form) not limited by tense, ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

“I let him do it” and “I allow him to do it”, why exactly does one require 'to'?

I let him do it. and I allow him to do it. Why does the latter require to? What are the "rules" of using to with an infinitive? When is it necessary?
0
votes
2answers
70 views

active voice and passive voice in the infinitive construction

Here are two sentences: That is an interesting question to answer. It is an easy sentence to translate. I am very confused about why we should use the active voice rather than the passive ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

negative infinitive: 'not to do something' versus 'to not do something'

Found in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English under the entry 'to skip something': [transitive] not do something informal to not do something that you usually do or that you should do ...
1
vote
1answer
661 views

“Heard me [infinitive]” vs. “heard me [present participle]”

"Heard me [infinitive]" vs. "heard me [present participle]" At that time, you wouldn't have heard me talk about it. At that time, you wouldn't have heard me talking about it. At ...
1
vote
4answers
976 views

“I'm not being” or “I'm not been”?

I'm not been able to make up my mind or I'm not being able to make up my mind? Which one is the correct sentence? Why is it correct and why is the other one incorrect? Edit 10/09/2012: ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Help + Noun + Gerund or Infinitive

Help my sister peel oranges. Help my sister to peel oranges. Help my sister peeling oranges. Help my sister with peeling oranges. Which of the above is/are correct, and why are the others ...
4
votes
2answers
641 views

The choice between the gerund and the infinitive in a certain construction

I am pretty much sure that for native speakers the issue I am going to bring up might look as an uncalled question as they can easily figure out which form of a verbal part of speech should be used, ...
2
votes
2answers
150 views

what's the meaning when “be” is followed by an infinitive

"If two Weeping Angels were to look at each other at the same time, they would be trapped in stone form until an outside force moves them apart." My questions are about the phrase "were to look": ...
4
votes
1answer
68 views

subject + verb + infinitive

I am having difficulty with subject + verb + infinitive set-ups, as I discovered with who/whom sentences. I understand who and whom as the subject and object forms. For sentences that I find a little ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

How do you explain usage of infinitive in “to hear all these large words, you would think…”?

I stumbled upon this quotation from Thomas Huxley: You have all heard it repeated, I dare say, that men of science work by means of induction and deduction, and that by the help of these ...
32
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8answers
5k views

What is the infinitive of “can”?

Like the title says: I don't think "to can" is right :) I mean "can" as in to be able to. I'm aware of other meanings. I can't find the answer here. (There's What is an "infinitive"? which ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

“How best to handle” vs. “how to best handle”

Are there rules on the placement of 'best'? They are deciding how to best handle the matter. They are deciding how best to handle the matter. Is one of them wrong?
1
vote
3answers
133 views

Is the “sorry to [infinitive] ” structure always grammatical?

I'm sorry to be so late. I'm sorry to hear about your sick mother. I'm sorry to waste your time. I'm sorry to make you feel so sad. I'm sorry to frighten you. I'm sorry to disagree ...
22
votes
7answers
13k views

Order of “not” with infinitive

This is one thing that keeps bugging me, and maybe there's a direct answer. Grammatically, which one is more correct of these two? Does it make a difference? I tried not to do that. I tried ...
2
votes
2answers
187 views

Reflexive pronouns and understood “to be”

So, I've got a fairly straightforward sentence: Poe did not think himself a writer of inferior material. It is my understanding that "a writer of inferior material" is the object of the ...
11
votes
4answers
21k views

“I like to do (be) something” vs “I like doing (being) something”

This is what I read in an answer to a previous question: Verbs Followed by Either Gerund or Infinitive Sometimes the meaning changes according to the verb used. <…> (dis)like ...
3
votes
2answers
62 views

stop vs stopped?

what is the difference between; "what if we stop X" and "what if we stopped X" We are trying to write an inspirational statement, not so much a question, to provoke thought around stopping X. For ...
0
votes
3answers
108 views

“I want [pronoun] [adjective]” vs “I want [pronoun] to be [adjective]”

Take these two sentences. 1.I want him dead. 2.I want him to be dead. What is the differences between two sentences? What does the "to be" mean?
4
votes
3answers
132 views

“To not” vs. “not to” [duplicate]

A little bit of context, I read the sentence below after the system - a computer application - has been subject to a certain kind of update: The system will be able to not create a record of that ...
0
votes
1answer
274 views

verbs not followed by that clauses

Where can I find a list of verbs like 'to want', which must be followed by an infinitive (other verbs by a gerund), but cannot be followed by a that-clause? I got from your website that there are ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

For a past situation: simple infinitive or perfect infinitive after “ought to”?

In Michael Vince's New First Certificate Language Practice, page 92, exercise 2, sentence number 10, you are given the sentence: "I thought that you would know better!" which has to be re-written ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

On the difference between “noun + infinitive” and “noun + present participle”

Infinitive and present participle can be used to modify the noun: Infinitive: I had no time to read those books. Present participle: There should be a law banning abortion. In (1), ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

usage of infinitive after feel [duplicate]

What is grammatically wrong with the sentence, "I feel to eat."? After the verb feel, can the infinitive of another verb be used?
5
votes
3answers
269 views

'Should've seen it glow' or 'should've seen it glowing'?

Which one of the following is the correct one? I should have seen it glow. I should have seen it glowing. Or are both correct? Would you parse them please?
0
votes
1answer
50 views

Difference between “is to do” and “is doing” [duplicate]

I saw below sentence: Her job is to clean the hall. So can I also say like: Her job is cleaning the hall. It's present participle or gerund? What's the different meaning between these two ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

“to successfully complete” or “to complete successfully”? [duplicate]

A Google search yields 41,200,000 results for the former but only 3,150,000 for the latter. Are split infinitives really to boldly be avoided in English grammar, or are millions of people just ...
0
votes
1answer
127 views

Compound verbs with infinitive and gerund

Which statements are grammatically correct and which meaning do they convey, This concept helps understand the problem. This concept helps to understand the problem. This concept helps understanding ...
1
vote
5answers
242 views

Is it “to be left free to do something” or “to be let free to do something”?

I know "to leave someone alone" and "to let someone be on their own". What happens when the adjective is followed by a verb (in the infinitive)? Is it "*Leave me free to do whatever I want." / "*I ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

Infinitives with “ought not”

Most of the references I can find about the word “ought” indicate that even when negating it, you should use an infinitive: “You ought not to go there.” That sounds quite bad ...
1
vote
2answers
161 views

Why do 'get' and 'have' work similarly in 'get/have sth done" but differently in 'get sb to do sth' and 'have sb do sth'

Why do 'get' and 'have' work similarly in I got/had my car repaired. but differently – that is are not complemented in the same way although they still mean the same – in I got someone to ...
-1
votes
2answers
5k views

Is it “What should he have done?” or “had he done”?

What should he have done? What should he had done? Could you tell me which one is correct? (If any.)
5
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3answers
2k views

Infinitive without to: The first thing I do is open my eyes

I have not been able to find an explanation for this use of an infinitive without to: The first thing I do in the morning is go to the bathroom. The first thing I do in the morning is open my ...
1
vote
4answers
314 views

Is there a difference between “way of doing something” and “way to do something”?

Is there a difference between "way of doing something" and "way to do something"? It is on purpose that I did not write "a way of doing something" or "the way of doing something" and "a way to do ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

Should I factor-out “to” in a series of infinitives?

Which of the following two forms of the sentence is better? "Managers can use these findings to bound estimates, to assess the realism of road maps, to recognise unsustainable growth, to judge the ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

'To' vs 'in order to' in negative clauses

The answers to this related question suggest that to and in order to are pretty much interchangeable, the former being preferred in informal contexts. My question is about negative clauses. ...