Language Arts:  Infinitives - Tutorial
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Functions of an Infinitive
An infinitive consists of the word to plus the base form of the verb.  It can  function as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb instead of a verb.
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How to Identify Infinitives
When the preposition to is followed by a noun, it is a prepositional phrase. 
Infinitives as Subjects
Infinitives can function as a subject. 
Infinitives as Adjectives
Infinitives as Direct Objects
Infinitives as Adverbs
Infinitives can function as an adjective.
Infinitives can function as a direct object.
Infinitives can function as an adverb.
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This section will cover infinitives and how they can be used.
to go

to fix

to see

to hear
to go to the show         
to fix the plumbing

to see the animals

to hear her mother
An infinitive phrase consists of the infinitive and its modifiers.

Infinitives can function as the following:

  • subjects

  • direct objects

  • subject complements
Jill will go to the store.
Since store is a noun, to the store is a prepositional phrase.

When  to is followed by an action word, it is called an infinitive.
Bob wants to fix the computer. 

to fix the computer is the infinitive phrase.
To receive the award was the highest honor.
The infinitive phrase --To receive the award -- tells what was the highest honor.

To win the race was his goal.
Infinitives can function as a subject complement.  
The infinitive phrase -- To win the race -- tells what was his goal.
The plan was to eat the pizza during the movie.
Infinitives as Subject Complements
The infinitive to eat the pizza during the movie modifies the subject plan.       
For a list of linking verbs, click here.
Jason has a book to read.
The noun book is a direct object. 

To read modifies the direct object book.  The infinitive can be found directly after the noun it modifies. 
Franny had more signs to paint.
To paint modifies the direct object signs.
Todd hoped to win.
To win receives the action from the verb hoped.  It tells what Todd hoped.
Dave wanted to compete in the tournament.
To compete in the tournament is the infinitive phrase that tells what Dave
Chelsea ate to fill her hungry appetite.
The infinitive to fill her hungry appetite modifies the verb ate.
Remember: The adjective modifies the noun or pronoun while the adverb modifies the verb, adjective, or another adverb. 

Adverbs ask why, how, when, where, and to what extent
Bob exercised to stay in shape.
The infinitive to stay in shape modifies the verb exercised.
  • adjectives

  • adverbs