To Infinitive and Beyond, or I Never Knew What That Was Called

The Infinitive and Beyond is of course a play on the catch phrase of Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear. And I wish I had thought of something so clever. But I heard this phrase in a high school freshman English class. Kudos to that teacher!


But what is an Infinitive?

An infinitive is a verb that acts as a noun, adjective, or adverb, and it is actually made up of two words: to + verb. Let’s see it in action:


to + eat

I want to eat soon.


to + travel

To travel is the only thing I could think of during Covid.


to + understand

The best website to help you understand infinitives as adjectives is “ writerswrite.blog “.


(Shameless plug)


There are four basic types of ways an infinitive can be used. You may find a list of more than four, but they are just parsed differently than these basic four. The infinitive can act like a:


Noun - subject

Noun - object

Adjective

Adverb


I’m fairly certain most native English speakers intuitively use infinitives correctly all the time. But I’m guessing few people but your English teachers have examined how infinitives really function in a sentence. So now you know!


To Infinitive and beyond!


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