Till now I have written and posted about various forms that a verb can take in sentences of English language. Today I came across another form or type of verb that exist in English language and so I am writing about it so if anyone of you is searching for this in particular or generally just want to enhance your understanding of the language, it will help you immensely.
The verb we will discuss today is the infinitive verb. We will talk about what exactly is an infinitive verb and how can we use it correctly in a sentence. Moreover, I will also tell you some ways to identify an infinitive verb.
When a verb exists in a sentence in its most basic or dictionary form it is referred to as an infinitive verb.
If you take a look down your memory lane, you will remember that in dictionary when we look for a verb, it appears with a to.
To write, to show, to walk etc.
Sign of Infinitive:
The infinitive verb exists in a sentence such that it is mostly preceded by the word to. The to before an infinitive verb does not act as a preposition, rather it acts as a sign of infinitive.
He asked the kid to run.
The above example contains the infinitive verb to run. You could easily identify it as it is preceded by to the sign of infinitive.
Note that the above example has another verb asked in it which is the main verb. Another characteristic of an infinitive verb is that it is never the main verb of the sentence. For infinitive verb to exist in a sentence, the sentence must have a main verb that describes the action taking place.
The infinitive verb of English grammar is called a verb but it never acts as a verb in the sentence. It always acts as noun, an adjective or an adverb. This is one more chacrateristic of an infinitive verb.
Example (as noun):
He likes to sleep.
To sleep is an infinitive verb which is acting as a noun in the above example. Change the tense of the sentence to present participle by replacing to sleep with -ing and see for yourself.
He likes sleeping.
Sleeping in the above sentence is a noun which proves that to sleep was acting as a noun in the previous example.
Example (as adjective):
Give her a bottle to fill.
The above sentence contains infinitive verb to fill. In this example, to fill is acting as an adjective as filling modifies the bottle. Compare it with:
Give her a bottle that she can fill.
She can fill is an adjective clause so we know that to fill was indeed an adjective in the previous example.
Example (as adverb):
The waiter came to help with the menu.
In the above sentence, to help is the infinitive verb that is acting as an adverb in this example as help is associated with the verb came. If we modify it;
The waiter came so he could help with the menu.
This modification makes it obvious that the infinitive verb was indeed acting as an adverb as the clause so he could help is an adverbial clause.