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How to use infinitive in English

The infinitive is the basic form of a verb and it almost always begins with “to” followed by the base form of a verb. There are four rules to keep in mind when using the infinitive.

Use the infinitive after some verbs such as: want, need, would like, etc.

Examples:
I would like to go to the cinema.
I need to buy a new computer.
I would like to meet new friends.

Use the infinitive in colloquial English

Examples:
He wants talking to.
My jumper needs washing.
At the moment, I’d like nothing more than forgetting all about work.

Use the infinitive after adjectives

Examples:
It isn’t easy to learn English.
It is difficult to ride a bike in Vietnam.

Use the infinitive to say why you do something

Examples:
I use ESL Saigon to learn English.
Why do you study English? To find a better job. (I study English to find a better job.)
I’m learning English to get a better job. (With object as part of the phrase)
We must eat and drink to live. (Without an object to follow)

The purpose-related infinitive can be moved to the beginning of the sentence to create stronger emphasis and achieve a more formal effect.

Examples:
To get a better job, I’m learning English.
To live, we must eat and drink.

The infinitive phrase can also be used as the subject (instead of the –ing form), especially when you want to sound more formal.

Example:
To consume too much alcohol is damaging to your health. (Consuming too much alcohol is ...)


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