How to form infinitive phrases

 

An infinitive phrase is a phrase made from an infinitive (to + base form of verb), one or more adjectives and a noun.

infinitive + adjective/s + noun

Examples:

to learn English

to buy some bread

Be careful. If the 'to' isn't followed by a verb, it is part of a prepositional phrase.

to learn English - Infinitive Phrase

to School - Prepositional Phrase

The noun in an infinitive phrase is called the object of the infinitive.

 

Practice: Forming Infinitive Phrases

 

Exercise 1:

Drag the words into the correct boxes to form an infinitive phrase.

 
 
 


a

 

catch

 

frog

 

to




 

Exercise 2:

Drag the words into the correct boxes to form an infinitive phrase.

 
 
 


teeth

 

to

 

my

 

clean




 

what do infinitive phrases do?

 

Infinitive phrases can function as Nouns, Adverbs or Adjectives in a sentence.

 

An Infinitive Phrase Acting as a Noun

Ben wants to impress Rebekah.

In this sentence, the phrase 'to impress Rebekah' is acting like a noun. It is the object of the verb. It is telling us what Ben wants.

 

Position of Noun Infinitive Phrase

A noun infinitive phrase will come immediately before or after the verb.

infinitive phrase verb infinitive phrase

 

An Infintive Phrase Acting as an Adjective

Ben is looking for a way to impress Rebekah.

In this sentence, the phrase 'to impress Rebekah' is acting like an adjective. It is telling us what kind of way Ben is looking for.

 

Position of Adjective Infinitive Phrase

An adjective infinitive phrase will come immediately after the noun it modifies.

Subject verb object infinitive phrase

 

An Infintive Phrase Acting as an Adverb

Ben is dancing to impress Rebekah.

In this sentence, the phrase 'to impress Rebekah' is acting like an adverb. It is telling us why Ben is dancing.

infinitive phrase as adverb
 

Position of Adverb Infinitive Phrase

An adverb infinitive phrase usually comes at the end of a sentence. It can also be placed at the beginning of a sentence. When this happens, it will be followed by a comma.

Subject verb object infinitive phrase

or

infinitive phrase , Subject verb object

 

Practice: Noun, Adjective or Adverb?

Are the infinitive phrases acting as nouns, adjectives or adverbs? Select the right answer. Click 'submit' to check your answers.

 

Ben is trying to sing a love song.

Rebekah is covering her ears to block out the terrible noise.

To sing well is difficult for Ben.

To win Rebekah's heart, Ben is singing.

 
infinitive phrase
 
 

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