For example:

Making new friends is important to your happiness.


To make new friends is important to your happiness.

I know the second sentence sounds odd, but I'm not sure if it's grammatically wrong or just not used as much.

Thanks a lot.

  • 2
    A little awkward, yes. We do use "To make an omelet, you have to crack a few eggs." In your example, making friends is a process, so making fits better than the infinitive. Then there's the unique "To be or not to be." "I think therefore I am" could be reframed as "To think is to prove one's existence." That sentence uses 'to think' as a stand-in for the very fact of a moment's thought. Apologies to Descartes. Commented May 17, 2017 at 21:13
  • 2
    To err is human, to forgive divine!
    – WS2
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 21:40
  • 1
    "To reign is worth ambition, though in hell" (Paradise Lost, as I recall).
    – Xanne
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 1:21

2 Answers 2


You certainly can.

What makes your example odd is that "be important" does not readily accept an infinitive clause as its subject, though it does as complement:

? To make friends is important.

It is important to make friends.

But with other words, it is fine. WS2 gives the exmple of the proverb "To err is human, to forgive divine". But you can come up with more ordinary examples. For example.

To talk to my boss was what I wanted to do all morning.

In sentences like that, it is fronted for emphasis: a more neutral version would be "All morning I wanted to talk to my boss".

Yosef Bskinh mentions a different construction starting with an infinitive: an initial purpose clause. "To make an omelette" = "In order to make an omelette".


All though it is uncommon, infinitives can be use as subjects, they usually refer to an activity in its general application rather than it specificality. When infinitives are used as subject, it is customary to follow them with a stative verb or 'be'. see the following examples:

To question one's existence would be natural.'


'To start a sentence with an infinitives is bizarre.'


'To talk to one's boss in the morning is every employee's desire.'

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