Archive for March, 2015

Verb patterns with infinitives

March 26th, 2015 in English Learning

Subject + verb + to-infinitive

The infinitive is the base form of the verb. It is often used with the marker ‘to’. Examples are: (to) run, (to) jump, (to) work, (to) play etc.

The infinitive is often used after be (is, am, are, was, were) to talk about an agreement or arrangement. It is also used to express a complaint, a protest etc.

The jury is to meet on next Monday.
How long are we to wait like this?
The poor exile was never to see his home country again.

Be + to-infinitive is also used as a mild form of command.

The scouts and guides are to wear their uniforms for the parade.
Teacher says that you are to learn this poem by heart.

Subject + verb + object + infinitive

In this structure the infinitive expresses a completed action. A present participle in its place would indicate an action that is going on and not completed.

Newton saw the apple fall to the ground.
I saw her cross the road.
We heard him scream for help.
They made me wait.
We saw the burglars break into the house.

Subject + verb + object + present participle

A present participle in this structure would indicate that the action is going on and not completed.

Newton saw the apple falling to the ground.
I saw her crossing the road.
We heard him crying for help.
We saw the burglars breaking into the house.