Friday, August 14, 2009

Bare Infinitives

Dear Readers,

You may have noticed that one of the most commonly used structures in English is

Subject + transitive verb + direct object +to-infinitive


She asked me to help her

But there are a few verbs in English which demand the structure

subject + transitive verb + direct verb + bare infinitive

Bare infinitives are infinitive forms , but without the usual to particle preceding them .

Why do some verbs behave in this aberrant way?No satisfactory explanation has been forthcoming yet . These verbs are

let, bid, make (causative use ) help(chiefly in U.S English)


* I let her go early .

*The King bade the soldiers release the prisoner .

* He made her sign the agreement .

*I helped her organize the birthday party..

Bare Infinitives are used after modal auxiliaries like will, shall, can, may, must, could, might , would , should etc Examples

*He will come if you invite him.

*i shall go to Cochin tomorrow .

*She can help you .

*The train may arrive late .

*We must be kind to beggars .

*I could swim when I was young .

*It might rain at any time this season.

*She would play tennis when she was at school.

* We should respect our teachers .

DUMMY AUXILIARIES like do, does and did are followed by bare infinitives . These auxiliaries carry inflection and tense , thus enabling the verbs to remain in their base forms .. Examples

* Does she play tennis ?(both inflection and tense carried by does )

*Do they speak English ?(do carries the tense of the verb )

*Did the plane take off on time ?((did carries the tense of the verb )

Enough for bare infinitives! I will continue the discussion in my next entry .

Thank you

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