Forms of infinitives

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Besides simple infinitives like (to) write, there are also progressive, perfect and passive infinitives.

Progressive Infinitive

Form: (to) + be + present participle
Examples are: (to) be writing, (to) be reading, (to) be walking etc.

The progressive infinitive is used to suggest that actions and events are/were/will be continuing around the time we are talking about.

Perfect infinitive

Form: (to) have + past participle
Examples are: (to) have received, (to) have broken, (to) have seen etc.

Perfect infinitives can have the same kind of meaning as perfect tenses or past tenses.

We often use perfect infinitives to talk about 'unreal' past events.

Passive infinitive

Form: (to) be + past participle
Examples are: (to) be given, (to) be seen, (to) be loved etc.

Passive infinitives have the same kind of meaning as other passive forms.

Perfect progressive infinitive

Form: (to) have been + present participle
Examples are: (to) have been crying, (to) have been waiting etc.

Perfect passive infinitive

Form: (to) + have been + past participle

Perfect passive infinitives are also common.

Sections in this article

Infinitives: forms
Infinitives without to
Infinitive with its own subject
For-structures after adjectives
For-structures after verbs
For-structures: other uses
Infinitive clauses of purpose
Verbs that can be followed by infinitives
Adjectives that can be followed by infinitives
Nouns that can be followed by infinitives