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Infinitive Verbs

After we left school, few of us remembered what an infinitive was. Editors will remind you. 

Let's review: The infinitive of a verb is its basic form with or without the particle to: do/to do and be/to be.

1) An infinitive verb almost always begins with to followed by the simple form of the verb.


                    Dick likes to run often.

                    Dick wants to fly planes.

                    Dick used to walk to work.

2) An infinitive is not doing the work of the verb of the sentence. Don't add s, es, ed, or ing to the end.

                    Dick (subject) likes (verb) to run (infinitive) often.

3) Infinitives can be used as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs.

Noun:                  To jam with the band after work was Dick's incentive to get through the day.

Adjective:            The only way Dick would survive his boring job was to dream about his gig at the bar.

Adverb:                Dick, an aspiring songwriter, suffered through his job at the tax office to pay for necessitities until his big break arrived.

4) A split infinitive is inserting a word between to and the verb.

Incorrect:         Sally wanted to thoroughly kiss him.

Correct:                 Sally wanted to kiss him thoroughly.

For effect:             Sally wanted to kiss him, thoroughly.

This rule is broken frequently. If you choose to split infinitives, do it intentionally and for emphasis, not because you don't understand the rule.

Revision Tips:

You can search and kill for the word to

Make sure you type in the search window: (space)to(space). 

Otherwise, you will bring up every combination of the letters t and o. The sheer volume may crash your computer.

You could also search and kill for word pairs: wanted to, tried to, ought to, used to, liked to, etc. 

Make a list of your favorite bugaboos and prune them into shape.

For all of the revision tips on verbs and other revision layers, pick up a copy of: 

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