Verbs That Can Be Followed By Infinitives

Many verbs can be followed by the infinitives of other verbs.

  • failed to understand his motive.
  • You should learn to say no.
  • He agreed to come.
  • He tried to open the door.
  • We decided to continue our journey.
  • She promised to come.

Common verbs that can be followed by infinitives are given below.

afford, agree, appear, arrange, ask, attempt, beg, begin, care
choose, consent, continue, dare, decide, except, fail
forget, happen, hate, help, hope, intend, learn
like, love, manage, mean, neglect, offer
prefer, prepare, pretend, promise
propose, refuse, regret, remember, seem
start, swear, trouble, try, want, wish

Verb + Object + Infinitive

Some of these verbs can be followed by object + infinitive.

Common examples are:

advise, allow, ask, beg, cause, command, compel
encourage, expect, forbid, force, get, hate, help
instruct, intend, invite, leave, like, love
mean, need, oblige, order, permit, persuade, prefer
recommend, remind, request, teach, tell, trouble, want, warn

  • want her to clear my doubts.
  • They don’t allow people to smoke in their home.
  • told him to leave.

Points to be noted

1. Some verbs (let, make, see, feel, watch, notice, have, and sometimes know and help) are followed by object + infinitive without to.

  • heard her open the door.
  • We watched them play.
  • Let me explain.

2. Some verbs cannot be followed by object + infinitiveSuggest, for example, is followed by a that-clause.

  • suggested that he should consult a doctor. (NOT I suggested him to consult a doctor.)

3. Many of the verbs listed above can also be followed by an -ing form or a that-clause.

  • Can you teach me to paint?
  • Can you teach me painting?
  • They stopped to talk.
  • They stopped talking.

4. Many of the verbs given above can be used in passive structures with infinitives.

  • They encouraged me to make another attempt. (Active)
  • was encouraged to make another attempt. (Passive)
  • They requested him to help them. (Active)
  • He was requested to help them. (Passive)
  • They ordered her to give the money back. (Active)
  • She was ordered to give the money back. (Passive)

Some verbs, however, can be used with infinitives in active structures but not passives. Examples are: like, dislike, love, hate, prefer, wish and verbs with similar meanings.

  • She likes people to be happy. (NOT People are liked to be happy by her.)
  • I hate to work on Sundays. (NOT To work on Sunday is hated by me.)

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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