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English Grammar

Verbs that can be followed by infinitives - part 2

After many non-auxiliary verbs we can use the infinitives of other verbs. Some of these verbs can be followed by an object + infinitive. Note that most of these verbs cannot be followed by –ing forms. Common verbs that can be followed by infinitives are given below. Example sentences are given to provide context.

Which verbs can be followed by infinitives? Well, there are no specific rules so you have to memorize them.

Afford

I can’t afford to buy a car.

We can’t afford to miss the train.

Agree

She has agreed to come.

Appear

She appears to be crying.

They appear to have a problem.

Arrange

Arrange is followed by an object + infinitive.

I arranged for her to have music lessons.

Ask

I asked to go home. (= I asked permission to go home.)

I asked her to go home. (= I asked her that I would like her to go home.)

Attempt

They attempted to run away.

She attempted to commit suicide.

Beg

I beg to differ.

I begged him to help me.

Begin

Suddenly the girl began to cry.

I slowly began to understand how she felt.

Note that begin can also be followed by an –ing form.

She began teaching / to teach when she was eighteen.

Choose

She chose to remain silent.

Continue

She continued to talk about her illnesses.

She continues to be an enigma.

Dare

Do you dare to touch me?

Do you dare to jump across the stream?

Decide

I decided to go home because I was feeling lonely.

I have decided to quit smoking.

Expect

She expects to get a bike for her birthday.

We expect to spend the summer in Switzerland.

Fail

She failed to win the contest.

I failed to understand her motive.

Forget

I forgot to take my keys.

She forgot to switch off the lights.

Happen

I happened to be there.

Hate

I hate to work at weekends.

Note that hate can also be followed by an –ing form. There is usually no difference of meaning.

I hate working at weekends.

Help

After help, we can use object + infinitive.

Can you help me to find my ring?

After help, the infinitive is often used without to.

Can you help me find my keys?

Hesitate

Please don’t hesitate to come.

Don’t hesitate to seek help if you need it.

Hope

I hope to see Jane while I am there.

I hope to get a raise next month.

Intend

I intend to ask her out one of these days.

I intend to start a business.

Learn

Learn is followed by an infinitive when we are talking about the result of a study.

She learnt to read German at school.

Learn is followed by an –ing form when we are referring to subjects of study.

She goes to college twice a week to learn typing and shorthand.

Like

I would like to tell you something.

I like to climb mountains.

Like can also be followed by an –ing form.

Sections In This Article
Infinitives
Infinitives: forms
Infinitives without to
To-infinitives
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
Verbs that can be followed by infinitives - part 1

 

 

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