Infinitive Form: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know what the infinitive form is? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the infinitive form, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What is the infinitive form?

According to Walden, there are many different forms of verbs in the English language, from a simple form of the verb to complex:

  •   Imperative tense
  •   Present perfect progressive/continuous tense
  •   Conditional perfect tense
  •   Conditional progressive tense
  •   Past progressive/continuous tense
  •   Simple future tense
  •   Gerund tense or gerund phrase 
  •   Future perfect progressive tense
  •   Simple present tense
  •   Simple past tense
  •   Bare infinitive tense
  •   Subjunctive tense
  •   Present participle tense
  •   Conditional perfect progressive tense
  •   Conditional tense
  •   Present perfect tense
  •   Past perfect tense
  •   Past perfect progressive tense
  •   Simple conditional tense
  •   Past participle tense
  •   Present progressive tense
  •   Future perfect tense
  •   Future progressive tense
  •   Perfect passive tense
  •   To-infinitive tense
  •   Indicative tense

Today, we will go over the infinitive form. An infinitive is formed by adding the word “to” in front of the base form of a verb or basic form of a verb. These are not conjugated like other forms of verbs, and they stay in their infinitive forms when used in a sentence. While infinitives include verbs, infinitives are not verbs. Infinitive verbs are verbals, which means an infinitive can be used as adjectives, nouns or adverbs. A bare infinitive is an infinitive verb without the preceding “to” and is used after modal auxiliary verbs or helping verbs such as should, can, shall, will, would, may, could, might, and more in a sentence. There is also the present infinitive and passive infinitive. Infinitives function as objects to the modal verbs in sentences with verbs of perception. A split infinitive is an infinitive with an adverb or adjective between “to” and the verb and is bad grammar. Infinitives in Spanish end in er, ar, or ir. German infinitives can form nouns as can other infinitives in Germanic languages. They end in -eln, -ern or -ein. Some of these are regular verbs while others are irregular verbs.

Many different languages also contain words that mean infinitive form. You may notice that some of these translations of infinitive form look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and forms in different languages that likely have the same root or language of origin, causing them to sound the same. The below list of translations of infinitive form is provided by Word Sense

  •  Portuguese: infinitivo‎ (masc.), infinito‎ (masc.)
  •  Navajo: bee áhodoonííł saad‎
  •  Japanese: 不定詞‎ (ふていし, futeishi)
  •  French: infinitif‎ (masc.)
  •  Armenian: անորոշ դերբայ‎
  •  Cyrillic: инфинитив‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: infinitiivi‎
  •  Hungarian: főnévi igenév‎
  •  Romanian: infinitiv‎ (neut.)
  •  Russian: неопределённая фо́рма‎ (fem.) (глаго́ла), инфинити́в‎ (masc.)
  •  Slovak: neurčitok‎ (masc.), infinitív‎ (masc.)
  •  Kazakh: инфинитив‎
  •  Tagalog: pawatas‎
  •  Roman: infinitiv‎ (masc.)
  •  Georgian: ინფინიტივი‎
  •  Catalan: infinitiu‎ (masc.)
  •  Greek: απαρέμφατο‎ (neut.)
  •  Turkish: mastar‎, eylemlik‎, isim-fiil‎
  •  Lithuanian: bendratis‎ (fem.)
  •  Norwegian: infinitiv‎ (masc.)
  •  Mandarin: 不定詞‎, 不定词‎ (bùdìngcí)
  •  German: Infinitiv‎ (neut.) (masc.)
  •  Estonian: tegevusnimi‎, infinitiiv‎
  •  Albanian: infinitiv‎
  •  Galician: infinitivo‎ (masc.)
  •  Arabic: مَصْدَر‎ (masc.) (verbal noun)
  •  Slovene: nedoločnik‎ (masc.), ínfinitiv‎ (masc.)
  •  Korean: 부정사‎ (不定詞‎)
  •  Macedonian: и́нфинитив‎ (masc.)
  •  Norman: înfinnitif‎ (masc.)
  •  Faroese: navnháttur‎ (masc.)
  •  Bulgarian: инфинити́в‎ (masc.)
  •  Danish: infinitiv‎
  •  Persian: مصدر‎ (masdar)
  •  Yiddish: אינפֿיניטיוו‎ (masc.)
  •  Hebrew: שֵׁם פֹּעַל‎
  •  Spanish: infinitivo‎ (masc.)
  •  Asturian: infinitivu‎ (masc.)
  •  Esperanto: infinitivo‎
  •  Polish: bezokolicznik‎ (m-in)
  •  Czech: infinitiv‎ (masc.), neurčitek‎ (masc.)
  •  Afrikaans: infinitief‎
  •  Belarusian: інфініты́ў‎ (masc.), нявызна́чаная фо́рма‎ (fem.) (дзеясло́ва)
  •  Ido: infinitivo‎
  •  Ukrainian: інфініти́в‎ (masc.), дієйме́нник‎ (masc.), невизна́чена фо́рма‎ (fem.) (дієсло́ва)
  •  Vietnamese: lối vô định‎
  •  Latvian: nenoteiksme‎ (fem.)
  •  Italian: infinito‎ (masc.)
  •  Latin: aparemphatum‎ (neut.)

What are examples of infinitive forms?

Infinitive forms can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word or grammatical technique in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize what it is, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this term of the day in a sentence today! Below are a couple of examples of infinitive forms from Your Dictionary that can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use.  Take a look at these infinitive form examples in the following sentences and see how many you can identify the infinitive form in!

  •  He reminded her to go downtown.
  •  You will need a time machine to see the dinosaurs.
  •  He certainly gave me something to think about.
  •  I saw her swim ten laps.
  •  Peter is a difficult guy to understand.
  •  I climbed the mountain to see the view.
  •  Cameron travels to see the world.
  •  Fred does like you.
  •  In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet decided to talk to a skull.
  •  I promise to hate her forever.
  •  Let’s buy snow gear to go skiing.
  •  My dad will be so happy to meet you!
  •  Hunter would rather go to school.
  •  We decided to volunteer once our parents gave us permission.
  •  Billie is finally ready to go.
  •  I’d prefer to see an action movie.
  •  The birds stole the twigs to build a nest.
  •  We decided to go out.
  •  She was trying to understand grammar, but got lost in all of the different terms: prepositional phrase, pronoun, direct objects, a modifier; it was all too much!
  •  I want to swim in the pool.
  •  I bought a patch to stop smoking.
  •  Can you help me carry this upstairs?
  •  He does not like to drink soda from a can.
  •  Mom loves to give gifts.
  •  I went to college to become an engineer.
  •  I forgot to take my vitamins today.
  •  This is the most important thing to know.
  •  Do you swear to tell the truth?
  •  Read the manual to understand more about repairing the stereo.
  •  Math is my least favorite subject to study.
  •  I was going to bake cookies for the concert.
  •  That watch is a valuable heirloom to pass down.
  •  Kelly went to the store to buy apples.
  •  I would like to thank you for coming out tonight.
  •  Dolphins are the best animal to watch through binoculars with clarity.
  •  You’d better tell me the truth.
  •  To dance is my little girl’s dream.
  •  The actor knew he had to have ambition to succeed.
  •  The Superbowl is the game to watch.
  •  Do you have any laundry to wash?
  •  You’ll always have a sister to confide in.
  •  You are so easy to talk to.
  •  The interrupter was starting to annoy me.
  •  My favorite meal to make is macaroni and cheese.
  •  The best method to use is the hands-on method.
  •  Oliver made me share my lunch with him.
  •  He dared to refuse dinner.

Overall, the function of an infinitive form or infinitive form of a verb is to form an adjective clause, adverbial phrase, adjectival phrase, or noun phrase. Infinitive phrases function as an adjective, adverb, or noun. In other languages, these are a single word.


  1. Verb Forms: “-ing,” Infinitives, and Past Participles – Grammar – Academic Guides at Walden University | Walden 
  2. infinitive: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. Examples of Infinitive Verbs | Your Dictionary