Thursday, July 23, 2009

to-infinitives and their uses

Dear readers

I have already explained non-finite verbs in my previous post. Now I will discuss infinitives which is the most frequently used non-finite verb form in E nglish .Infinitives are found in two forms , to-infinitives and bare infinitives According to scholars the particle to originally had a directional sense , but it continued to be used even after the directional sense got dropped.Traditional grammarians look upon to as an integral part of the infinitive , and so they regard split infinitive as a mistake .But split infinitive is no longer regarded as a mistake

uses of to-infinitive

1 Infinitive is a concept borrowed from Latin grammar . In Latin it is a kind of verbal noun .In English too this Latin sense is retained when to-infinitive is used as subject of a verb and as the object of a verb . Example:

To err is human (subject of the verb )
She likes to dance (object of the verb)

Please note the use of to-infinitive as subject is somewhat rare in modern English Its use as object is very frequent indeed.

2 to-infinitive is often used as an adjective which post -modifies a noun .Examples

I had no work to do
The next guest to arrive was the District Collector

t3 To -nfinitives are often used for adjective complementation . Look at thesre sentences

She was happy to come
To-come complements the adjective by stating the cause .

She is hard to please

This kind of complementation is possible only when the object of the transitive verb ,please, is the same as the subject , she . Other examples

English is easy to learn
Sita is difficult to convince .

4 To-infinitive is used as adverbial clause of purpose

We eat to live
She is working hard to get a promotion

5 To-infinitive is also used for object complementation Example

I asked him to leave

She invited me to attend the party .

This construction , Subject +transitive verb + direct object+to-infinitive , is a frequent one in English

I Will continue the discussion in my next post

Thank you

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