The infinitive of a verb is its simplest uninflected form, and the form that appears as the headword in dictionaries. When used in sentences, there are two basic kinds of infinitive: (1) the bare infinitive, identical to the form just mentioned, which is used with auxiliary verbs such as can, may, shall, should, will, would, etc., with the so-called semi-modal verbs dare, help, and need, and after idiomatic expressions such as had better (I had better wait), (2) the to-infinitive, in which the base form is preceded by the particle to, which is used with verbs such as expect, have, hope, want, etc., in expressions of purpose (To call attention, ring the bell), in idiomatic expressions such as to be honest, to put it mildly, so to speak, etc., and to form noun phrases which can be the subjects of other verbs (To err is human). When a second infinitive follows a to-infinitive, this is often expressed as a bare infinitive without another to: I want to go to the library and get a book.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • Infinitive — In*fin i*tive, n. [L. infinitivus: cf. F. infinitif. See {Infinite}.] Unlimited; not bounded or restricted; undefined. [1913 Webster] {Infinitive mood} (Gram.), that form of the verb which merely names the action, and performs the office of a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Infinitive — In*fin i*tive, n. (Gram.) An infinitive form of the verb; a verb in the infinitive mood; the infinitive mood. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • infinitive — [in fin′i tiv] adj. [LL infinitivus < L infinitivus (modus), lit., unlimited (mood) < infinitus (see INFINITE): so named because it is not limited to any person, number, or tense] Gram. of or connected with an infinitive [an infinitive… …   English World dictionary

  • Infinitive — In*fin i*tive, adv. (Gram.) In the manner of an infinitive mood. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • infinitive — (n.) simple, uninflected form of a verb, 1510s (mid 15c. as an adjective), from L.L. infinitivus unlimited, indefinite, from L. infinitus (see INFINITE (Cf. infinite)). Indefinite because not having definite person or number …   Etymology dictionary

  • infinitive — ► NOUN ▪ the basic form of a verb, without an inflection binding it to a particular subject or tense (normally occurring in English with the word to, as in to see, to ask). ORIGIN from Latin infinitus, from in not + finitus finished, finite …   English terms dictionary

  • Infinitive — In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. In the usual (traditional) description of English, the infinitive of a verb is its basic form with or without the particle to: therefore, do and to do, be and …   Wikipedia

  • infinitive — ● infinitif, infinitive adjectif (bas latin infinitivus modus) Proposition infinitive ou infinitive (nom féminin), proposition subordonnée complétive dont le verbe est à l infinitif (par exemple j entends chanter les oiseaux). ● infinitif,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • infinitive — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ bare ▪ Modal verbs generally take the bare infinitive. ▪ perfect ▪ You use ‘have’ to form the perfect infinitive of a verb. ▪ passive …   Collocations dictionary

  • infinitive */ — UK [ɪnˈfɪnətɪv] / US [ɪnˈfɪnɪtɪv] noun [countable] Word forms infinitive : singular infinitive plural infinitives linguistics the basic form of a verb. In English, this form of the verb together with the word to in front of it is usually called a …   English dictionary

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