What part of speech is “infinitive”

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as a noun, the term 'infinitive' refers to the base form of a verb, often preceded by the word 'to' in English (though 'to' is not always present). It represents the verb in its most basic form, without any tense or person attached to it.

the infinitive can be used to express purpose, intention, or a suggestion. It can also be used after certain verbs, adjectives, and nouns. There are two types of infinitives in English

the full infinitive (with 'to') and the bare infinitive (without 'to').

I love to read books. (Here, 'to read' is the infinitive used as a noun, indicating what the subject loves.)

She decided to leave early. (Here, 'to leave' is the infinitive indicating the decision she made.)

The ability to swim is essential for lifeguards. (Here, 'to swim' is the infinitive used as a noun, indicating a specific ability.)

not all verbs are followed by the 'to' form of the infinitive. Modal verbs like 'can,' 'will,' 'should,' etc., are followed by the bare infinitive. Avoid the common mistake called a 'split infinitive,' where an adverb is placed between 'to' and the verb, as in 'to quickly run.' While this is often considered acceptable in modern English, some purists still frown upon it.


the term 'infinitive' can also describe a word or phrase that is in its infinitive form. In this context, it functions as an adjective.

when 'infinitive' is used as an adjective, it typically modifies a noun, often the word 'form' or 'phrase.'

The infinitive form of the verb 'run' is 'to run.'

In the sentence 'She likes to dance,' the infinitive phrase is 'to dance.'

English learners often struggle with the correct usage of the infinitive form.

be cautious not to confuse the adjective use of 'infinitive' with its noun form. The adjective describes something as being in the infinitive form, while the noun refers to the form itself.

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