First Grammar Lessons: Part III, Lesson II

First Grammar Lessons: Part III, Lesson II

Lesson II

When a verb has ‘to’ before it, it cannot have a subject, so it cannot be either singular or plural. Also, because such verbs cannot have subjects, they cannot be predicates. Neither do they show anything about time—whether the action is past, present, or yet to come.

For these reasons we say that verbs with ‘to’ before them are in the infinitive mood. Therefore we cannot say much about them.

Indeed these infinitive moods are more like name-words than anything else.

They are the names of the verbs. If we wish to speak of a verb, we call it the verb to be, or the verb to write, or the verb to go, just as we should say—the dog Rover, the man, etc.

Because infinitive moods are like name-words, we often find one makes a subject, as if it were a noun. We say:

To swing is great fun.

The thing we speak of is to swing, and it is the subject.

Sometimes an infinitive mood makes an object:

I like to read.

I like what? to read. To read is the object of ‘like.’

To be learnt.

Infinitive moods are the names of the verbs.

They may be subjects or objects of sentences.

Exercise II

1. Give the infinitive moods of all the verbs you like to do, as:

I like to read.

2. Give the infinitive moods of all the verbs Baby is able to do, or is not able to do, as:

Baby is able to sleep, but is not able to walk.

3. Put six verbs in the infinitive mood after each of the following:

Mary wishes.
Mother told me.

4. Put six infinitive verbs as subjects to the following:

_____ is pleasant.
_____ is great fun.

5. Make four sentences with each of the following verbs in the infinitive mood, and notice whether they are subjects or objects:

to write, to love, to cook, to go.

6. Point out infinitives in your reading book.