Uncategorized · Verb

I want to buy a cake – How to Use Infinitives

by Olga Koliichuk

cakeJean Cummings

1. The Infinitive is the basic form of a verb.

For instance: to be, to see, to go.

The Infinitive is an indispensable part of English. It is a non-personal form of the verb. It means that you won’t be able to figure out the person it refers to.

For instance if I say: I want to buy a cake. You can’t see from the infinitive “To buy” that I am going to bake this cake.

The same with: He wants to buy a cake. If you just look at “to buy” you won’t know that he is buying this cake.

The infinitive is used in several tenses. (these are more advanced, generally).

Underneath are some examples of this:

ü  Simple – to go – I want to go to the theatre. (infinitive: go)

ü  Continuous – to be going – He may be going to the theatre. (infinitive: be)

ü  Perfect – have gone – He must have gone to the theatre. (infinitive: have)

  1. 2.       The infinitive is also used in the passive tense. All the examples above are active, so now let us show you some passive ones:

ü  Simple passive – to be gone – I found him to be gone away. (infinitive: be)

ü  Perfect passive – to have been gone – I expected to have been rescued. (infinitive: have)

Here are some verbs which are habitually followed by infinitives: (habitually means always!)

(Just read these. It’s not going to help you if you learn them by heart. Rather, if you read many examples you will develop a feeling for them.)

agree I agree to have a cup of coffee with you.
aim They aim to be in the next government.
appear He appeared to be a decent person.
ask I asked him to buy some bread.
attempt She attempted to save her cat’s life.
be able They aren’t able to persuade him to leave this affair alone.
beg I am begging you to stop buying me flowers.
begin We began to walk half an hour ago.
care Would you care to dance?
choose He chose to die rather than live a life filled with lies.
condescend *see Word to the Wise He wouldn’t condescend to misrepresent the facts.
consent She refused to consent to the marriage.
continue They didn’t continue to read the book because it was getting dark.
dare How dare you speak to me like that? (Please note: there is no “to”)
decide They decided to sell their sports car.
deserve He deserves to live in this beautiful house after all the troubles in his life.
expect Are you expecting him to say, “Will you marry me?”
fail They failed to find the restaurant, so they went to a pizzeria.
forget I never forget to switch off the light when I leave.
get How did you get to know them?
happen She happened to explore the area before me.
have We have to leave work until 9 p.m.
hesitate He is hesitating to buy a 30% share in the company.
hope I hope to find a good place to raise my children.
hurry They were hurrying to buy food before the shops were closed.
intend I intend to become a partner in one very famous gas/oil company.
like He likes to eat ice-cream.
long They are longing to take up their kite-surfing course.
love I love to walk along the Tel Aviv Promenade.
mean They meant to go to the theatre, not to the cinema.
neglect You neglected to mention the price of his services.
offer We offered to stay here and reserve two pizzas.
ought You ought to promise me that you will behave better.
plan Let’s plan to take a trip to the South!
prefer We prefer to create something new than to use old things.
prepare One should be prepared to defend one’s family.
proceed They proceeded to swim but their powers were leaving them.
promise Please, promise to save this necklace for me.
propose We propose to make the bank transaction on Monday.
refuse She refused to take part in that business project because she didn’t see any perspectives.
remember I always remember to lock the front door when I leave the house.
say He said to leave the door open.
shoot She shot to defend herself.
start We started to prepare the breakfast.
stop She didn’t stop to insult the girl.
strive They were striving to get out of the storm.
swear She swore to be a good mayor.
threaten They are threatening to start a boring long argument.
try They were trying to unlock the door, but failed.
use You can use it to cut the apples.
wait We were waiting to enter the club.
want What do you want to do?
wish I wish you will be able to visit China this year.

Exercise 1. Complete the sentences.

  1. Although the task was difficult they tried to… …
  2. We have found a new porcelain shop near here and we intend to ……
  3. The kids were playing near the road. We asked them to change the place because it was dangerous, but they didn’t stop…
  4. Look! This dress is wonderful! I want to… …
  5. The weather is terrible. I refuse to… …
  6. We have no time for talk. Let’s prepare to… …
  7. She loves to visit Art Galleries, so she is longing to… …
  8. The conditions of our partners are favourable to us. I offer to… …
  9. Oh, sorry, there is some misunderstanding, I meant to… …
  10. The circumstances were against them so they failed to… …

For some possible answers: see underneath.

Infinitives

  1. Although the task was difficult they tried to do the best they could.
  2. 2.       We have found a new porcelain shop near here and we intend to knock everything off the shelves!
  3. The kids were playing near the road. We asked them to change the place because it was dangerous, but they didn’t stop to listen to us.
  4. Look! This dress is wonderful! I want to buy it for my friend’s wedding party.
  5. The weather is terrible. I refuse to play tennis when it rains.
  6. We have no time for talk. Let’s prepare to start work immediately.
  7. She loves to visit Art Galleries, so she is longing to go there after work.
  8. The conditions of our partners are favourable to us. I offer to give them a final discount of 5 percent and close the deal.
  9. Oh, sorry, there is some misunderstanding, I meant to tell you that we will come to your housewarming party on Thursday.
  10. The circumstances were against them so they failed to finish the project in time.

4 thoughts on “I want to buy a cake – How to Use Infinitives

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s