English Language

INFINITIVE PHRASES

An infinitive is a verb form that usually appears with the word to before it.

To is called the sign of the infinitive.

Examples:

To lift to eat to launch to register To is a preposition if it is followed by a noun or noun phrase, but it is a sign of the infinitive if it is followed by a verb or verb phrase.

Examples:

Joseph longed for a flight to the moon. (prepositional phrase)

Not until 1985 was he able to succeed. (infinitive) An infinitive phrase consists of an infinitive and its modifiers, objects or complements.

It can function as a noun, adjective, or adverb.

Examples:

To write clearly and concisely can be difficult sometimes. (Infinitive phrase functioning as a noun and the subject of the sentence).

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Proofreading your writing is a good way to ensure the absence of typing mistakes. (Infinitive phrase functioning as an adjective modifying the noun way).

To greatly increase the amount of stress in your life, leave your writing task until the night before it is due.

(Infinitive phrase functioning as an adverb modifying the verb leave).

Exercise

Underline the infinitive phrases in each of the following sentences and state whether it is functioning as a noun, adjective or adverb.

  1. To climb Mt. Kenya was the dream of Kisoi Munyao.
  2. The freedom hero decided to climb the mountain on the eve of the country’s independence.
  3. He was one of the first Kenyans to try this risky climb.
  4. His determination helped him to make rapid progress to reach Point Batian.
  5. Munyao was able to reach the peak with very limited climbing gear.
  6. To reach Point Batian was Munyao’s ultimate goal.
  7. At first few other climbers bothered to listen to Munyao.
  8. He was even forced to finance much of his expedition himself.
  9. Johnson worked hard to achieve his dream of hoisting the country’s flag.
  10. His success made it easier for other climbers to scale the tallest mountain in world.
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Answers

Exercise

  1. To climb Mt. Kenya –noun
  2. To climb the mountain – noun
  3. To try this risky climb – adjective modifying the noun Kenyans
  4. To make rapid progress – adverb modifying the verb helped
  5. With very limited climbing gear – adverb modifying the verb reach
  6. To reach Point Batian – noun
  7. To listen to Munyao – noun
  8. To finance much of his expedition – adverb modifying the verb forced
  9. To achieve his dream of hasting the flag – adverb modifying the verb worked
  10. To scale the tallest mountain in Kenya – adverb modifying the verb made.
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See also:

PARTICIPIAL PHRASES

GERUND PHRASES

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES

VERB PHRASES

NOUN PHRASES

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