In a statement such as "I did whatever I wanted to do," or "I wore whatever clothes I wanted to wear," are the infinitives "to do" and "to wear" necessary? Is it improper to say "I did whatever I wanted"?

In my opinion, it sounds more formal with the infinitive, but I'm trying to meet a word limit…

  • Interestingly, the do or the to do may be deleted from I did whatever I wanted to do, but deleting to wear from the second example changes the meaning. You can want [to keep etc] clothes, as well as want to wear certain clothes. _I suspected that things were likely to disappear from my hovel room while I was visiting the Elbonian market on my two day excursion there, so I wore whatever clothes I wanted [to keep possession of]. Oct 19, 2015 at 15:49
  • Wow, I did not even think of this possibility. Thank you!
    – W. Weston
    Oct 19, 2015 at 16:33

1 Answer 1


Since the infinitive is the same as the main verb of the clause, you can indeed leave it off. It does sound, a bit less formal, but that's the way I usually hear it in conversation.

You can also remove the actual infinitive and leave the "to" in place ("I did whatever I wanted to"), though that sounds very informal and isn't often used in writing.

So in brief, pick whichever form you want. ;)

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