Infinitives: 50+ Popular English Verbs Followed by Infinitives

Have you ever heard of infinitives? They are a type of verb that allows the word or a group of words to be used as a noun, adjective, or adverb. Every type of verb can be put into the infinitive form, even phrasal verbs. Usually, infinitives are formed by adding the word “to” before the base form of the verb, as in “to be,” but sometimes the base form of the verb is used alone.

Infinitives may seem complicated at first, but they are essential to understanding the English language. In the following sections, we will explore the different uses of infinitives and provide examples to help you grasp their meaning and function in sentences.


Verbs Followed by Infinitives

Definition and Function

Infinitives are a type of non-finite verb that are formed by adding “to” before the base form of a verb. They can function as a noun, adjective, or adverb in a sentence. Infinitives do not have a tense of their own, making them a versatile tool in the English language.

Infinitives can be used as the subject of a sentence, such as “To err is human.” They can also function as the direct object of a verb, as in “I want to go home.” Infinitives can even act as an adjective, modifying a noun or pronoun, as in “The desire to learn is admirable.”

Forms of Infinitives

There are two forms of infinitives in English: the bare infinitive and the full infinitive. The bare infinitive is the base form of the verb without “to” and is used after modal verbs (such as can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, and would), as in “I can swim.”

The full infinitive is the base form of the verb with “to” and is used in all other cases, such as “I want to swim.” Infinitives can also be used in a continuous form, such as “I am going to be swimming.”

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It is important to note that infinitives should not be confused with gerunds, which are verb forms that end in “-ing” and function as nouns in a sentence. For example, “Swimming is my favorite activity” uses a gerund, not an infinitive.

List of Verbs Followed by Infinitives

Verbs Followed by Infinitives List

  • Agree
  • Manage
  • Appear
  • Need
  • Arrange
  • Neglect
  • Ask
  • Offer
  • Begin
  • Plan
  • Can’t bear
  • Prefer
  • Can’t stand
  • Prepare
  • Care
  • Pretend
  • Cease
  • Promise
  • Choose
  • Propose
  • Claim
  • Refuse
  • Continue
  • Regret
  • Decide
  • Remember
  • Demand
  • Seem
  • Deserve
  • Start
  • Dread
  • Swear
  • Expect
  • Tend
  • Fail
  • Threaten
  • Forget
  • Try
  • Happen
  • Wait
  • Hate
  • Want
  • Hesitate
  • Wish
  • Hope
  • Would like
  • Intend
  • Yearn
  • Learn
  • Like
  • Love

Verbs Followed by Infinitive Examples

  • I wanted to cook dinner for my parents.
  • The kind of flowers to plant are perennials.
  • The chairman refused to answer any more questions.
  • To make the cookies, you must add the flour first.
  • I have some clothes to wash.
  • Don’t forget to bolt the door.
  • The doctors manage to keep the pain at a tolerable level.
  • How does he propose to deal with the situation?
  • I don’t claim to be an expert.
  • She did not wish to convey that they were all at fault.
  • I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
  • Do you swear to tell the whole truth?
  • The teacher didn’t seem to have done much preparation for the class.
  • If you try to evade paying your taxes you risk going to prison.
  • We promise to deliver within 48 hours.
  • If you fail, don’t forget to learn your lesson.
  • He can’t bear to be laughed at.
  • I used to detour because would like to see you at a glance.
  • I can’t wait to tell Gloria the good news.
  • You don’t happen to recall his name, do you?
  • If you don’t learn to think when you are young, you may never learn.
  • Recent bank failures threaten to upset the entire world economy.
  • How do you intend to deal with this problem?
  • tend to watch television for pleasure rather than edification.
  • Remember to review your lessons before you go to bed.
  • If you decide to marry him, there will be no going back.
  • They might refuse to let us do it, but it’s hardly likely.
  • Don’t pretend to be nice to me. I am very silly really.
  • The weather should continue to improve over the weekend.
  • Old people prefer to stay in their own homes.
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Uses of Infinitives

To Indicate Purpose

One of the most common uses of infinitives is to indicate the purpose of an action. For example, we can use an infinitive to explain why we are doing something. Consider the following examples:

  • I went to the store to buy some milk.
  • She studied hard to get good grades.

In both of these examples, the infinitive “to” is used to indicate the purpose of the action.

As Subject or Object

Infinitives can also be used as the subject or object of a sentence. When used as the subject, the infinitive is usually followed by a verb. For example:

  • To travel is my dream. (Infinitive as subject)
  • I want to learn Spanish. (Infinitive as object)

In both of these examples, the infinitive is used to describe the subject or object of the sentence.

After Adjectives

Infinitives can also be used after adjectives to describe a quality or characteristic. For example:

  • She is happy to help. (Infinitive after adjective)
  • He is eager to learn.

In both of these examples, the infinitive is used to describe the quality or characteristic of the subject.

Infinitives Without ‘To’

After Modal Verbs

Modal verbs are verbs that express a possibility, ability, permission, or obligation. When we use a modal verb, we follow it with the infinitive without “to.” Here are some examples:

  • We can go to the movies tonight.
  • You should eat more vegetables.
  • They might arrive late.
  • She must finish her homework.

After Certain Verbs

There are certain verbs that we use with the infinitive without “to.” Here are some of them:

  • Let: Let me help you with that.
  • Make: She made me clean my room.
  • Help: Can you help me move this table?
  • See: I saw him leave the room.
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It’s important to note that some verbs can be used with both the infinitive with “to” and the infinitive without “to,” but the meaning can be different. For example, “He stopped to smoke” means that he stopped what he was doing in order to smoke, while “He stopped smoking” means that he quit smoking altogether.

Last Updated on December 6, 2023

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