Is infinitive a verb?What do you think?We will find out the answer through this article.
Infinitive is not a verb in the usual sense of a verb. An infinitive is formed when we use the word ‘to’ followed by base form of a verb. For example:‘to learn’, ‘to walk’, ‘to run’,etc
1.Ann loves to play with her pets.
Here ‘to play’ is formed by adding a base verb form to the word ‘to’.Therefore ‘to play’ is an infinitive.Although it denotes an action it cannot be construed as a perfect example for a verb.
2. I love to learn Carnatic music.
Here ‘to’ + base form of the verb is ‘to learn’. Therefore ‘to learn’ is the infinitive.
3.John loves to write short stories.
‘To write’ is the infinitive.
Infinitive can be considered a verbal.It can act as a noun,an adjective and an adverb.
Infinitive as a noun
When an infinitive is used as a noun ,it takes different roles.It can sometimes act as a subject.Sometimes it can function as a direct object.Let us go through some examples.
1.To orchestrate a concert is my dream.
Here ‘to orchestrate a concert’ is functioning as a subject noun .It is an infinitive phrase.
2. To swim seems a pipe dream as far as I am concerned.
Here ‘to swim’ is an infinive which acts as a subject noun.
3.Anna wanted to sleep.
Here the infinitive ‘to sleep’ acts as a direct object .
Infinitive as an adjective
We place an infinitive after a noun to make it an adjective.
1.The nearby café is the perfect place to meet.
Here ‘to meet’ modifies the place.Thus this infinitive acts as an adjective.
2.I have cozy bed to sleep.
Here ‘to sleep’ modifies ‘bed’
Infinitive as an adverb
Infinitive can modify a verb by functioning as an adverb.For example:
1.Ann went to Greece to study.
The infinitive ‘to study’ modifies the verb ‘went’.
2.I exercise regularly to participate in the marathon
‘To participate in the marathon’ is the adverbial infinitive.
How is infinitive a verb?
Infinitive is formed when the word ‘to’ is paired with the base form of a verb.Then it does the duty of a verb.
Let us take the word ‘run’.It can be a noun when we say ‘I am going for a run’.
But look at the below sentence.
1.John loves to write short stories.
Here the word ‘run’ is turned into an infinitive with the accompaniment of ‘to’ and it does the duty of a verb.
2.I love to chat with Anna.
Here ‘to chat’ which is the infinitive does the duty of a verb.
Is split infinitive a verb?
Infinitive is formed when bare form of a verb follows the word ‘to’.(eg.’to write’).Split infinitive is formed when an adverb comes between ‘to’ and the bare form of the verb.
1.Roger wanted to quickly finish his breakfast.
Here we added an adverb ‘quickly’ in between ‘to’ and ‘finish’. ‘Quickly’ as an adverb modifies the verb ‘finish’.
2.John wanted to slowly climb the ladder of success.
We added the adverb ‘slowly’ which modifies the verb ‘climb’ in between ‘to’ and ‘climb’.
‘Slowly’ is the adverb
Is bare infinitive a verb
As we have learned ,infinitive has ‘to’ in front of the base form of a verb .But if we omit ‘to’ from it ,then it is called a bare infinitive.Bare infinitive can do the duty of a verb.
Bare infinitive often follow modal verbs in a sentence. For example
1.You must run fast to win the marathon.
Here ‘run’ is the bare infinitive.It follows a modal auxiliary verb ‘must’
2.She can tell you the truth.
Here ‘tell’ is the bare infinitive.It follows a modal auxiliary verb ‘can’.
After some words like let,bid,hear,made etc we use bare infinitive.For example.
1.Anna bade him go
Here we used the bare infinitive ‘go’ by omitting ‘to’
2.Let Radha sing.
Instead of ‘to sing’ ,we used the bare infinitive ‘sing’
3.I heard him scream.
Here ‘scream’ is used as a bare infinitive by omitting’to’ .
We do not use ‘to’ after expressions like had better,rather than,would rather,etcThere we use bare infinitive.
1.You had better talk him and solve the issue
Here we should not use ‘to talk’,rather we should use the bare infinitive form ‘talk’
2.He would rather ask his wife than guessing.
Here also we did not use ‘to ask’.We omitted the word ‘to’ and thus used a bare infinitive ‘ask’.
Conclusion: Infinitives can be considered verbals. Therefore they can function as parts of speech such as nouns, adverbs, adjectives,etc.They are not verbs in grammatical sense.