Infinitives

The most important functions of an infinitive in the structure of a sentence are its use as Noun, Adverb and Adjective.

Infinitive as Noun

1. As a Subject of a Verb

To err is human.

To beg is a disgraceful act.

In these sentences, the infinitives 'to err' and 'to beg' are functioning as a subject of the verb 'is' and hence they are functioning as Noun.

2. As Object of a Verb

You have learnt to identify a finite verb.

I tried to solve the problem.

In these sentences, the infinitives 'to identify' and 'to solve' are functioning as Object of the verbs 'learnt' and 'tried' respectively and hence they are functioning as Noun.

3. As Complement of Verb

My desire was to become a doctor.

The aim of his life is to serve the down-trodden people.

In these sentences, the infinitives 'to become' and 'to serve' are functioning as complement (subjective) of the verbs 'was' and 'is' respectively and hence they are functioning as Noun.

4. As Object of preposition

He was about to speak the truth.

In the sentence, the infinitive, 'to speak' is functioning as Object of the preposition 'about' and hence it is functioning as Noun.


    


Infinitive as Adverb

Look at the sentences:

a. I turned my face to avoid him.

b. Mr. Smith came to teach me English.

In these sentences, the infinitives 'to avoid' and 'to teach' tell us something more about the verbs 'turned' and 'came' respectively, that is, the infinitives are modifying the verbs and hence they are functioning here as Adverb.

Infinitive as Adjective

Look at the following sentences:

a. My brother gave me a cake to eat.

b. My uncle bought me a cycle to ride.

In these sentences, the infinitives 'to eat' and 'to ride' tell something more about the nouns 'a cake' and 'a cycle' respectively and hence they are functioning as Adjective.

Also See: Types of Infinitives




Grammer Topics

Sentence Formation
Noun and Verb
Simple Sentence, Clause & Phrase
Objective Complement
Intransitive Verb
Noun and Pronoun
Adjective
Adverb
Infinitives
Particles
Gerund
Preposition
Phrase
Clause
Types of Sentences
Finite Verb
Prefixes and Suffixes
Tense
Punctuation
Semi Colon
Apostrophe
Reported Speech
 
 


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