What is the infinitive?
The infinitive is the base form of a verb. It may be preceded by ‘to’ (the to-infinitive) or stand alone (the base or zero infinitive).
2. Infinitive with or without ‘to’
The to-infinitive is used:
- after certain verbs. e.g. want, wish, agree, fail, mean, decide, learn
- after the auxiliaries to be to, to have to, and ought to
- in the pattern ‘it is + adjective + to-infinitive’
- The elephant decided to marry the mouse
- The mouse agreed to marry the elephant
- You will have to ask her
- You are to leave immediately
- He ought to relax
- She has to go to Berlin next week
- It’s easy to speak English
- It is hard to change jobs after twenty years
- It’s stupid to believe everything you hear
- I would rather visit Rome.
- She would rather live in Italy.
- Would you rather eat steak or fish?
- He would rather work in a bank.
- I’d rather be a forest than a tree.