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 To leave the party quietly Adverb modifying “to leave”

1. What is an Infinitive Phrase?

An infinitive phrase is a group of words that uses an


3. Types of Infinitive Phrases
infinitive (“to” + verb). An infinitive is a verbal (a word
Infinitive phrases are always easy to spot because they
that expresses action); so, an infinitive phrase has the
begin with “to.” In a sentence, they can work like nouns,
same role of expressing action in a sentence.
adjectives, or adverbs.

2. Examples a. Infinitive Phrase as a Noun


When an infinitive phrase works like a noun, it answers
Here are some examples off infinitive phrases, both on the question “what?” So, the infinitive phrase will be the
their own and as part of full sentences: subject, which does the verb; or an object, which
 To plant a garden receives the action of the verb. Here are some
 To go on vacation examples:
 I told the dog to run home quickly
 I want to eat pizza for dinner  I don’t want to study for my test. What don’t you want?
(Object)
 He needs to ace the exam. What does he need? (Object)
3. Parts of Infinitive Phrases  To get good grades is my goal. What is the goal? (Subject)
 His job was to tutor me in math. What was his job?
Infinitive phrases begin with an infinitive, and sometimes (Object)
include modifiers and/or objects that make the phrase
more descriptive. b. Infinitive Phrase as an Adjective
a. Infinitives When an infinitive phrase acts like an adjective in a
sentence, it describes a noun or a pronoun. So, that
The main, most essential part of an infinitive phrase is
means it will describe a subject or an object. Here are
an infinitive. So, what’s an infinitive? Quite simply, it’s
some examples:
the word “to” plus the base form of a verb, like these:
 To study (to + study)  I want a tutor to help me study. Describes the tutor
 To play (to + play)  I need a magazine to read on the train. Describes the
 To leave (to + leave) magazine
 To eat (to + eat)  There is a basket to put your exam in. Describes the basket
Infinitives are verbal words expressing action, and  I wish I had a friend to study with me. Describes the friend
shouldn’t be confused with a prepositional phrase that
begins with “to” (to + noun or pronoun). c. Infinitive Phrase as an Adverb
b. Objects When an infinitive phrase works like an adverb, it
An object is the word (a noun or a pronoun) affected by modifies the verb in a sentence. Adverbs answer
the verb in a sentence. So, in an infinitive phrase, it’s the questions like where, when, why, how, and for what
word being affected by the infinitive. Here are some reason/purpose, so, as an adverb, the infinitive will
examples of objects in infinitive phrases: answer the same questions.
 To study math
 I went home to study for math. Why did you go home?
 To play guitar
 He sat down to take the exam. For what reason did he
 To leave the party
sit down?
 To eat a sandwich
 To get into college, you need good grades. Why do you
c. Modifiers
need good grades?
A modifier is an adjective or adverb that alters other
 To ace the exam, I studied for hours. For what purpose did
words in a sentence, making it more descriptive. you study?
Infinitive phrases often include modifiers; here are some
examples:
 To study advanced math Adjective modifying “math”
 To eat a giant sandwich Adjective modifying “sandwich”
 To play guitar beautifully Adverb modifying “to play”