Definition: Infinitive is the base form of the verb. The infinitive form of a verb is the form which follows "to".

For example:

  • (to) go, (to) be,(to) ask, (to) fight, (to) understand, (to) walk .
  • Infinitives may occur with or without the infinitive marker "to". Infinitives without "to" are known as "bare infinitives".

    For example:

  • Help me open the door.
    The infinitive can have the following forms:

    1. The perfect infinitive
      to have + past participle

      For example: to have broken, to have seen, to have saved.
      This form is most commonly found in Type 3 conditional sentences, using the conditional perfect.

      For example:
      • If I had known you were coming I would have baked a cake.
      • Someone must have broken the window and climbed in.
      • I would like to have seen the Taj Mahal when I was in India.
      • He pretended to have seen the film.
      • If I'd seen the ball I would have caught it.

    2. The continuous infinitive
      to be + present participle

      For example: to be swimming, to be joking, to be waiting

      • I'd really like to be swimming in a nice cool pool right now.
      • You must be joking!
      • I happened to be waiting for the bus when the accident happened.

    3. The perfect continuous infinitive
      to have been + present participle

      Examples: to have been crying, to have been waiting, to have been painting

      • The woman seemed to have been crying.
      • You must have been waiting for hours!
      • He pretended to have been painting all day.

    4. The passive infinitive
      to be + past participle

      For example: to be given, to be shut, to be opened

      • I am expecting to be given a pay-rise next month.
      • These doors should be shut.
      • This window ought to be opened.

    NOTE: As with the present infinitive, there are situations where the "to" is omitted.

    • He claimed to be an expert.
    • I managed to reach the top of the hill.
    • Don't pretend that you know the answer.
    • She failed to explain the problem clearly.
    • The customs man demanded to search our luggage.
    • I can't afford to go out tonight.

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