Infinitives - Christian Brothers High School

How Infinitives Function in a
Infinitives and infinitive phrases
function in one of three ways:
– Noun
– Adverb
– Adjective
Infinitive Phrases as Nouns
Infinitive phrases can function as a
If the phrase functions as a noun, it
will be
– subject
– direct object
– predicate nominative
– object of the preposition.
Infinitive Phrases as Subjects
First, isolate the infinitive phrase;
then ask the following question:
– What? + verb = subject
– To prevent a wreck requires being alert.
– To purchase the dog today would be a
Infinitives as Direct Objects
First isolate the infinitive phrase.
Then find the subject and the verb in the
main sentence and then ask the question:
Subject + verb + what? = direct object
– The boys wanted to drive the family car to
Bristol, Tennessee.
Infinitives as Predicate
Subject + linking verb + what? = Predicate
His primary goal is to prepare for the exam
His original plan was to hit the snake with
a club.
Infinitives as Objects of the
– He was about to leave the room when the
phone rang.
– The child did nothing except scream at the
top of the stairs.
Infinitives with Subjects
– He wants me to attend the meeting on
– The coach wanted the quarterback to
throw the wide receiver a short pass.
Infinitives function as
– Nouns (sub, do, op, pn)
– Adverbs ( tell “why?” or come after a pa)
– Adjectives (tell “which one?” or “what kind?”
This powerpoint presentation was
designed to show how infinitives or
infinitive phrases function as nouns
Infinitives can be used with gerunds and
participles and other infinitives:
The doctor’s orders to stop smoking was
difficult to do.
The father wanted to watch his son play
Wishing to avoid an argument Debra left the
He wanted to pet the dog lying on the floor.

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