Using the infinitive is not always easy for Vietnamese English learners. Following these simple rules you should be able to use the infinitive correctly. Because ESL Vietnam Zone wants to help the learners of English I have tried to keep it as simple as I could.
This post has been improved by Mr. Kimmo Kosunen.
How to use the infinitive
1. Use the infinitive after some verbs such as want, need, would like, etc
- I would like to go to the cinema.
- I need to buy a new computer.
- I would like to meet new friends.
2. In colloquial English:
- He wants talking to.
- My jumper needs washing.
- At the moment, I’d like nothing more than forgetting all about work…
3. Use the infinitive after adjectives
- It isn’t easy to learn English.
- It is difficult to ride a bike inVietnam.
4. Use the infinitive to say why you do something
- I use ESL Vietnam Zone to learn English.
- Why do you study English? To find a better job. (I study English to find a better job.)
- I’m learning English to get a better job - (with object as part of the phrase)
- We must eat and drink to live - (without an object to follow)
The purpose-related infinitive can be moved to the beginning of the sentence to create stronger emphasis – and achieve a more formal effect.
- To get a better job, I’m learning English.
- To live, we must eat and drink.
The infinitive phrase can also be used as the subject [instead of the –ing form], especially when you want to sound more formal: To consume too much alcohol is damaging to your health. [Consuming too much alcohol is….]