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TOIEC Grammar - The Infinitives

TOIEC Grammar - The Infinitives

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TOEIC Grammar

GLOBAL EDUCATION VIETNAM

www.globaledu.com.vn
The Infinitives 1. Introduction Infinitives (dạng nguyên thể) are forms like (to) write and (to) read. Infinitives are generally used with the marker to. Note that this to is not a preposition; after the preposition to we use –ing forms. Negative forms Negative Infinitives are normally formed by putting not before the infinitive.    I decided to invite them. (affirmative) I decided not to invite them. (negative ) You were silly not to have locked the car. (NOT You were silly to not have locked the car.)

2. Infinitives: forms Besides simple infinitives like (to) write, there are also progressive, perfect and passive infinitives. 2.1. Progressive Infinitive The progressive infinitive is used to suggest that actions and events are/were/will be continuing around the time we are talking about. Form: (to) + be + present participle    I happened to be waiting for the bus when the accident happened. You must be joking. I’d really like to be swimming in a nice cool pool right now.

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2.2. Perfect infinitive Perfect infinitives can have the same kind of meaning as perfect tenses or past tenses. Form: (to) have + past participle   I am happy to have left school (= I am happy that I have left school.) You seem to have annoyed him. (= It seems that you have annoyed him.)

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 It is nice to have finished work. (= It is nice that I have finished work.)

We often use perfect infinitives to talk about ‘unreal’ past events – Type 3 conditional sentences.    If you had run a bit faster, you would have won. You should have told me you were coming. If I had known you were coming I would have baked a cake.

2.3. Passive infinitive Passive infinitives have the same kind of meaning as other passive forms. Form: (to) be + past participle     Everybody needs to be loved. There is a lot of work to be done. She ought to be told about it. These doors should be shut.

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2.4. Perfect progressive infinitive Form: (to) have been + present participles    The woman seemed to have been crying. How long have you been living here? You must have been waiting for hours!

2.5. Perfect passive infinitive Perfect passive infinitives are also common. Form: (to) + have been + past participle  They were lucky – they could have been killed.

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3. Infinitives: without to Infinitives are generally used with the marker to. But we use the infinitive without to in some cases. a. After modal auxiliary verbs (trợ động từ khuyết thiếu) After the modal auxiliary verbs will, shall, would, should, can, could, may, might and must, we use the infinitive without to.      I shall write to him. (NOT I shall to write...) We can manage it. (NOT We can to manage...) I will say what I like. We must get someone to paint the roof. Can you help us?

The infinitive without to can also be used after need and dare in some cases.   You need not make such a fuss over it. How dare you call me a liar?

b. After do

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After do, we use the infinitive without to.   Do you think she is ready? I do admit that I was wrong.

c. After certain principal verbs like let, make, see etc. After certain verbs like bid, watch, see, let, make and hear, infinitives are used without to.       They made me wait. (NOT They made me to wait.) He bade me come. (NOT He bade me to come.) I saw her light the lamp. (NOT I saw her to light...) We heard her sing a song. (NOT We heard her to sing...) We watched them play. Let him go.

Help can also be used in this way.  She helped the child (to) lift the box.

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In passive versions of these structures the infinitive is used with to.    She was heard to sing a song. He was helped to lift the box. She was made to pay back the money.

d. After rather, better and had better After rather, better and had better, we use the infinitive without to.    You had better consult a doctor. I would rather go alone. He would rather die than yield to pressure.

e. After and, or, except, but, than, as and like When two infinitive structures are joined by and, or, except, but, than, as or like, the second is often without to.    It is as easy to smile as frown. Do you want to have lunch now or wait till later?

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We had nothing to do except look at the cinema posters.

f. After why (not) We can introduce questions and suggestions with why (not) + infinitive without to.    Why stand up if you can sit down? Why pay more at other shops? We have the lowest prices. Why not make it up with him?

Note that no noun or pronoun should come after why (not).  Why not arrange a party in his honour? (NOT Why not we arrange a party in his honour?)

4. To-infinitives The marker to is normally used before infinitives. Note that this to is not a preposition; after the preposition to we use –ing forms. The to-infinitive has many functions. a. Infinitive as subject

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An infinitive can be the subject of a sentence. This was fairly common in older English.   To err is human, to forgive divine. To find fault with others is easy.

In modern English, this is unusual. We more often use it as a ‘preparatory subject’ (chủ ngữ mở đầu), and put the infinitive clause later.   It is human to err. It is easy to find fault with others.

b. Infinitive as object Many verbs can be followed by an infinitive clause in the place of the direct object.    She wants some exercise. (noun object) She wants to dance. (infinitive object) I don’t want to go to bed.

c. Infinitive clause as complement An infinitive clause can be used after be as a subject complement (bổ ngữ cho chủ ngữ).

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   The best thing to do now is to vanish. You are to sit in that corner and keep quite. The main thing is to stay calm.

To-infinitives can be used as the object or complement of a verb, adjective or noun.      You have the right to remain silent. She was anxious to contact her husband. That was a sight to see. Automation has come to stay. It is time to go.

5. Infinitive with its own subject An infinitive can have its own subject. The subject of the infinitive is normally introduced by for. Compare:  I will be happy to help you. (I will help you.)

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   I will be happy for him to help you. (He will help you.) My idea was to study medicine. (= I wanted to study medicine.) My idea was for him to study medicine. (= I wanted him to study medicine.)

Note that we use object pronouns (e.g. him, them, her etc.) after for.  Uses The structure for + object + infinitive is common after adjectives, nouns and verbs. It is used when we are referring to possibility (khả năng), necessity (cần thiết) or frequency (thường xuyên), when we are expressing wishes (mong ước), suggestions (gợi ý) or plans for the future (kế hoạch cho tương lai), and when we are giving personal reactions to situations.    It is important for the meeting to start on time. His idea is for us to travel in separate cars. I am anxious for the party to be a success. It isn't easy for me to let him go. (NOT It isn't easy for I...)

Instead of the for-structure, a that-clause with should or a subjunctive (thể giả định) is often possible.    It is important that the meeting should start on time. I am anxious that the party should be a success. His idea is that we should travel in separate cars.

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6. Infinitive clauses of purpose We often use an infinitive to talk about a person’s purpose.    He rose to speak. She came to the city to look for work. He sat down to rest.

We can also use in order to or so as to.  She came to the city so as to look for work.

So as to and in order to are more common before verbs like be, have, know etc.   He raised his voice so as to be heard. He got up early in order to have enough time to pack.

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Before a negative infinitive, we normally use so as or in order.  I am leaving now so as not to be late. (NOT I am leaving now not to be late.)

7. Verbs that can be followed by infinitives Many verbs can be followed by the infinitives of other verbs.       I failed to understand his motive. You should learn to say no. He agreed to come. He tried to open the door. We decided to continue our journey. She promised to come.

Common verbs that can be followed by infinitives are given below. afford, agree, appear, arrange, ask, attempt, beg, begin, care, choose, consent, continue, dare, decide, except, fail, forget, happen, hate, help, hope, intend, learn, like, love, manage, mean, neglect, offer, prefer, prepare, pretend, promise, propose, refuse, regret, remember, seem, start, swear, trouble, try, want, wish Verb + Object + Infinitive Some of these verbs can be followed by object + infinitive. Common examples are: advise, allow, ask, beg, cause, command, compel, encourage, expect, forbid, force, get, hate, help, instruct, intend, invite, leave, like, love, mean, need, oblige, order, permit, persuade, prefer, recommend, remind, request, teach, tell, trouble, want, warn    I want her to clear my doubts. They don't allow people to smoke in their home. I told him to leave.

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Points to be noted 1. Some verbs (let, make, see, feel, watch, notice, have, and sometimes know and help) are followed by object + infinitive without to.    I heard her open the door. We watched them play. Let me explain.

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2. Some verbs cannot be followed by object + infinitive. Suggest, for example, is followed by a that-clause.  I suggested that he should consult a doctor. (NOT I suggested him to consult a doctor.)

3. Many of the verbs listed above can also be followed by an -ing form or a that-clause.     Can you teach me to paint? Can you teach me painting? They stopped to talk. They stopped talking.

4. Many of the verbs given above can be used in passive structures with infinitives.       They encouraged me to make another attempt. (Active) I was encouraged to make another attempt. (Passive) They requested him to help them. (Active) He was requested to help them. (Passive) They ordered her to give the money back. (Active) She was ordered to give the money back. (Passive)

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Some verbs, however, can be used with infinitives in active structures but not passives. Examples are: like, dislike, love, hate, prefer, wish and verbs with similar meanings.   She likes people to be happy. (NOT People are liked to be happy by her.) I hate to work on Sundays. (NOT To work on Sunday is hated by me.)

8. Adjectives that can be followed by infinitives Infinitives are often used after adjectives which express people’s reactions and feelings. Common examples are: pleased, glad, surprised, happy, anxious, shocked, afraid etc.      She was anxious to go home. I was surprised to get her letter. It is nice to talk to you. I am glad to meet you. You don't look happy to see me.

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Other adjectives that can be followed by infinitives include: right, wrong, stupid, certain, welcome, careful, due, fit, able, likely and lucky.    I was stupid to trust him. They are certain to win. You are welcome to stay as long as you like.

An infinitive can be used after adjective + noun to make a comment or judgment.   It was a stupid thing to do. It was an astonishing way to behave.

Superlative adjectives can be followed by an infinitive structure.  He is the oldest athlete ever to win an Olympic gold medal.

This structure is also common with first, second, third etc., next, last and only.   Who was the first woman to climb Mt Everest? She is the only scientist to have won three Nobel prizes.

9. Nouns that can be followed by infinitives

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Many nouns can be followed by an infinitive complement.   That was a sight to see. You have every reason to be happy.

An infinitive can be used after a noun, or an indefinite pronoun such as something, anything, to explain the purpose of a particular thing.      We need fire to cook food. That is something to remember. I would like something to eat. I need some books to read. We are looking for a place to live in.

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