To + infinitive
How do we know when to use ‘to + infinitive’ (to know, to see, to find etc), and not the gerund or the bare infinitive? It can be difficult to know, but we have three rules as to when we use the ‘to + infinitive’.
When to use ‘to + infinitive’
- We use ‘to + infinitive’ after specific verbs. (ask to go, plan to find etc.).
- We use ‘to + infinitive’ after most adjectives to give a reason. (happy, difficult etc.).
- We use ‘to + infinitive’ to show purpose, ‘to & for’ for a full description on ‘to for purpose’.
We use ‘to + infinitive’ after specific verbs
|Want||Did they really want to jet ski?|
|Learn||You must learn to behave.|
|Plan||She’s planning to take a Spanish course.|
|Hope||David hopes to become an astronaut.|
|Decide||Don’t decide to leave so soon, please.|
|Help||Can you help me to solve this?|
|Promise||Our clients promised to make a deal with us.|
|Would like||He wouldn’t like to come with us.|
|Decide||We’ve decided to try.|
|Agree||Don’t agree to stay if you don’t want to.|
|Ask||I’m asking you to do it for me.|
|Would love||She’d love to join in.|
|Would hate||I’d hate to know.|
|Wait||They’ve been waiting to see their favourite actor.|
|Seem||The washing seems to be done.|
|Manage||Could you manage to make an appointment?|
|Offer||My employer offered me more vacation time.|
|Choose||You can choose to leave if you want.|
|Can afford||Henry can’t afford to go.|
|Demand||I’m demanding you to leave at once!|
|Prepare||Please, prepare to wait, there’s a long line.|
|Arrange||He’ll arrange for you to arrive at 22:00.|
|Deserve||James doesn’t deserve to win the lottery.|
|Claim||Are you claiming to be a charlatan?|
|Appear||My bike doesn’t appear to be working.|
|Intend||They intend for you to have great success.|
|Expect||I don’t expect you to understand.|
|Tend||They tend to have an absent mind.|
|Would prefer||They’d prefer to come tonight.|
|Refuse||You guys can refuse to bail.|
|Pretend||Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.|
We use ‘to + infinitive’ after most adjectives to give a reason (happy, difficult etc).
|Happy||My wife and I are happy to give you this gift as a token of our appreciation.|
|Difficult||The way the world can be difficult to master.|
|Big||You’re too big to challenge him.|
|Nice||It’s very nice to see you today.|
|Kind||It’s very kind of you to do that.|
|Mean||I was being mean in order to hurt them.|
|Grateful||I was being grateful to encourage you.|
|Proud||They are proud to be my parents in law.|
|Surprised||The locals were surprised to see me.|
|Anxious||I’m feeling anxious to wash the dishes.|
|Pleased||They are so pleased to meet us.|
|Sad||I’m sad to see you leave.|
We use ‘to + infinitive’ to show purpose
I interviewed her to know what had happened.
I bought the vase to give to my mom.
Mary opened the door to see who was there.
We’re going to find the suspect to put him in jail.
I rang my mum to see how she was going.
You need to study a lot to pass your exam.
He turned the light on to see better.
Utilising the ‘to + infinitive’ construction can be a little tricky and It’s highly recommended that you read this article To & for that fully explains and elaborates on the usage of ‘to’ and ‘for’.
Modal auxiliary verbs:
- Articles (a/an, the, zero article)
- Pronouns: subject, object and possessive
- Question tags
- English conditionals
- Interrogatives in English
- Phrasal verbs
- Prefixes and suffixes
- Reported and direct speech
- Punctuation: apostrophes, colons, semi-colons, commas, dashes, full stops, question marks, exclamation marks, and quotation marks
- Numbers: cardinal, ordinal, and Roman numbers
- The verb: “get”
- ‘Get’ vs. ‘go’ and ‘got’ vs. ‘gotten’
- Copular verbs
- Cleft sentences
- Subjunctive in English
- Vulgar and taboo in English
- Split infinitive
- Emphasis with inversion
- Gerunds in English
- Bare infinitive
- British and American spelling