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Questions tagged [infinitives]

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.

49
votes
4answers
45k views

When should a verb be followed by a gerund instead of an infinitive?

Some verbs are followed by ing, e.g. I enjoy swimming. We can't say I enjoy to swim. Likewise, some verbs are followed by to, e.g. I decided to make a plan. Which particular verbs are followed by ...
81
votes
10answers
363k 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.
49
votes
9answers
86k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
8k views

Are split infinitives grammatically incorrect, or are they valid constructs?

Mark's generosity in this crisis seems to more than make up for his earlier stinginess. Should those sentences always be avoided, or are there cases where they are valid?
15
votes
4answers
90k 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 &...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
6k views

“I think him to be about 50” or “I think he is about 50”?

I have two options. Which one is correct? a) I think him to be about 50. b) I think he is about 50. If both are correct, should I avoid one or the other?
27
votes
2answers
312k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
184k views

“Started to work” vs “Started working”

What is the difference between the following: Things started to work again. Things started working again.
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Usage of infinitives in this sentence

In my academics I learned that we use infinitives (to + verb 1st form). So I was surprised when someone told me this sentence is incorrect. I am not able to figure it out why this sentence is ...
8
votes
1answer
42k 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 incorrect?
5
votes
2answers
2k 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, ...
7
votes
4answers
2k 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, what ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Is 'I would rather…' without an infinitive immediately following it correct?

Consider: I would rather the walls remain painted in a neutral tint. Is this proper use of 'I would rather..', without an infinitive immediately following it? EDIT This suggests that 'I would ...
6
votes
5answers
34k 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 doesn'...
2
votes
2answers
975 views

Can object complements make any difference to sentences?

I'm reading a grammar book, and I have some questions. A. We ate the fish raw. I want Sue drunk. I prefer the music soft. I like coffee black. We drank the beer cold. This type of ...
0
votes
3answers
14k views

“Feel committed to [gerund/infinitive]”

Does "feel committed to" require an infinitive or gerund complement? For example, which of the following is grammatical? I feel committed to following up on that. I feel committed to follow ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

How do I know when a verb should be followed by a gerund or an infinitive?

A few weeks ago I posted a question about the usage of a verbal in a particular sentence. But now, I have another question on the same topic, gerund. Sometimes I don't know for sure if I need to use ...
5
votes
8answers
4k views

How to remember the difference between: “Can you try to open” and “Can you try opening”?

I am well aware that a similar question has been asked in the past, namely “Try to save” or “try saving”. However, I am not totally satisfied by the posted answers. My problem is that, every time I ...
9
votes
3answers
24k views

“Important that John bring/brings” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use the subjunctive mood? Given the sentence John brings his lunch to school, is it correct to say It is important that John brings his lunch to school (...
6
votes
2answers
18k views

Grammatical complements for “allow”

Are any of these verb phrases grammatical? allows the user of modeling and resolving allows the user to model and resolve Which version of the following sentence is correct/better? ...
3
votes
3answers
571 views

Is “to practice volleyball requires stamina” grammatical?

Is the sentence "to practice volleyball requires stamina" grammatically correct? As opposed to the sentence "practicing volleyball requires stamina"? Another example: To ensure safety requires ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

Why are present participle and infinitive equally acceptable for some verbs, but not others?

This question about "started teaching/to teach" made me realise that even though the present participle and infinitive are both acceptable after "started", that's not the case with other superficially ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

“Help rule out” vs. “help to rule out” [duplicate]

Duplicate of: What is the correct way to use infinitive after the verb “help”: with or without “to”? “Could help avoid” vs. “could help to avoid” “Helping you do ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
171 views

To + verb in sentence without any other verb

From time to time I come across a sentence with to + verb, but with no other verb in it. I see it often in news titles. For example: Squall, Tina and Lightning to appear in Final Fantasy Explorers ...
2
votes
3answers
8k views

“To do this or do that” or “to do this or *to* do that”?

I saw on the bottom of an email: To change your email preferences or unsubscribe from certain messages, click here. Is that correct or should it be: To change your email preferences or to ...
9
votes
5answers
48k views

When is “to” a preposition and when the infinitive marker?

I want to see you. I look forward to seeing you. How can one say "to" in the first sentence is an infinitive marker and in the second sentence a preposition when we are given just the following ...
20
votes
3answers
49k views

“Can easily be” vs. “can be easily” — what's the difference?

I'm wondering what the difference is between: It can easily be obtained. It can be easily obtained. Also, what's the preferred way to write it? If there is any... I googled for both ...
6
votes
2answers
65k views

Expect +to VS expect + ing

I know that expect is used this way: I expect you to do that. But I have also seen examples like with verb in its "ing" form: What to expect working at... I will expect you doing (does not ...
4
votes
1answer
800 views

Repeating (or not) “to” in a sentence involving infinitives set in parallel

I googled it but I couldn't find the answer... maybe I didn't seek it in the proper way. My question is if "to" must be repeated in sentences such as the following ones: In the past, women used ...
3
votes
1answer
469 views

How does the word “to” function with an infinitive?

I've gone through all the questions and answers on infinities and although they explain whether or not an infinitive should be marked or bare with certain words, nowhere can I find an explanation as ...
2
votes
2answers
585 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
42k views

Difference in meaning: “would have had to be” vs “would have had to have been”

Being a non native speaker, I cannot spot the difference here: He would have had to have been there. He would have had to be there. The only thing that comes to my mind is that in the first case, ...
9
votes
3answers
20k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Help identifying an error type “tried to help me learning”

I have a friend from Russia who is trying to learn English and recently used the sentence "He tried to help me learning..." (implied: the English language) It is obviously wrong and I corrected it ...
8
votes
0answers
450 views

Infinitive without “to”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct way to use infinitive after the verb “help”: with or without “to”? Today I found this headline on bbc.co.uk How one family is ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

“It is fun to write letters” vs. “It is fun writing letters”

Grammatically, "It is fun to write English letters." is correct. But is the following also grammatically correct? It is fun writing English letters.
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Which of the following sentences is/are incorrect? (“Permit” vs. “allow” vs. “let”)

Which of the following sentences is/are incorrect? Why? The visa permits you to study for two months. My father would never allow me to study English Let me to go. You're hurting me. This is ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

How does the to infinitive work with adjectives like “wrong” and “wise”?

You were wrong to pick that car I was wise to go home that day. I can't quite explain how the to-infinitive modifies the adjectives here. It's similar to sentences like "It's nice to see you" ...
7
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

Omitting the last “to” in “All {I need to / have to / must} do is (to?) do something” [duplicate]

I remember I learned a structure like the one that this post’s title mentions: All I {need to do | have to do | must do} is do something. But is it correct to use "to do something" after the "is" ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Infinitive in news headlines

I'm a little bit confused with understanding news titles. I recently started to read news in English willing to improve my language skills, but there is one thing that I totally can't understand (and ...
6
votes
1answer
10k views

“I love to [verb]” vs “I love [gerund]” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Catenatives followed by infinitives and gerunds “I like to do (be) something” vs “I like doing (being) something” What is the difference between "I love to sing" and "I ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

“For [verb]ing” vs “to [verb]”

Someone edited my message on StackOverflow, but it really bugs me out. I'm not sure what's wrong with it: As you see, the bigger the circle becomes, the more vertices I need for hiding the straight ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

How to understand “It takes a little bit of getting used to the idea…”?

The following sentence is from a mathematical lecture note here: It takes a little bit of getting used to the idea of a function that cannot actually be evaluated at any specific point, but with ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What's to do? vs. What's to be done?

In order to ask What should be done? or What should we do? using an infinitival clause, you can readily say What's to be done? or What to do?. (1) What's to do? But I've heard (1) used in the ...
3
votes
2answers
458 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 understood ...
3
votes
1answer
4k 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?
1
vote
3answers
5k views

Do I need to add “to” in every clause in this sentence?

Working in the field helps us to learn how to apply theories to solve real-world problems, to apply […], and to […]. Are the "to" after each comma necessary?