All English SMA N 1 SLAWI

to infinitives

Some Other Uses of Toinfinitives

Source: English for The SLTA-Structure Reference Book II & III, Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan

The to infinitive may function as a subject or a modifier.

A. To infinitives as Subjects

Frame la: To infinitive + Predicate

SUBJECT

PREDICATE

1

To cook

takes a lot of time.

2

To ride fast

is dangerous.

3

To understand the lesson

is difficult

.Usage

1. The to infinitive can be used as the subject of a sentence. The subject of each of the sentences in the above frame contains a to- infinitive. In sentence 1, the to infinitive to cook is used alone. In sentence 2, the to infinitive to ride has a modifier fast‘. In sentence 3, the to infinitive to understand has an object the lesson‘. The to- infinitive with its object, modifier, etc, is called a to- infinitive phrase.

2. Note, however, that the use of the to infinitive as the subject is not very common. It is more common to use the word it in the subject position and the to infinitive at the end of the sentence.

Examples:

(1) It takes time to cook.

(2) It is dangerous to ride fast.

(3) It is difficult to understand the lesson.

B. To- infinitives as Modifiers

Frame 2a. As Modi’fierofa Noun

SUBJECT + VERB

NOUN/INDEFINITE PRONOUN

TO- INFINITIVE

1

I have

work

to do.

2

Do you need

a book

to read?

3

She gave him

something

to drink.

4

They don’t want

anything

to eat

Usage

1. The to- infinitive can be used to modify a noun or indefinite pronoun (i.e. nothing, something, etc.). The to- infinitive comes after the noun or pronoun it modifies. (See sentences in the above frame).

2. The to- infinitive shows how the noun or pronoun is to be used.

Frame 2b: As Modifier of an Adjective

SUBJECT + LINKING VERB

ADJECTIVE

TO- INFINITIVE

1

Diman is

happy

to help Roby.

2

The lessons are

easy

to understand.

Usage

The to- infinitive can be used to modify an adjective. The to- infinitive comes after the adjective it modifies. (See sentences above).


Frame 2c. As Modifier of a Verb

SUBJECT

VERB (PHRASE)

TO- INFINITIVE

1

Diman

went

to get his bike.

2

He

was riding fast

to be on time.

3

Roby

came

to help Tina.

4

I

borrowed Diman’s bike

to go to Tina’s house.

Usage

1. The to- infinitive can modify a verb or verb phrase. The to infinitive comes after the verb it modifies. (See sentences above).

2. The to- infinitives indicates purpose or intention. The idea of purpose may be emphasized by using in order before the to-uifinitive.

Examples:

(1) Diman went in order to get his bike.

(2) He was riding fast in order to be on time.


Frame 2d. As Modifier of a wh- word.

SUBJECT + VERB

WH- WORD

TO- INFINITIVE

1

I am wondering

how

to get my bike.

2

He didn’t know

what time

to come.

Usage

1. The to- infinitive may also modify a wh- word. (e.g. how, when, etc.), or wh- phrases (e.g. what time, which book, etc.). (See sentences above).

2. Sentence 1 means: I am wondering how I should get my bike. Sentence 2 means: He didn’t know what time he should come.

C. To- infinitives with their Subjects

Frame 3. for + Subject + to- infinitive

SUBJECT + LINKING VERB

NOUN/ ADJECTIVE

TO- INFINITIVE AND ITS SUBJECT

1

There isn’t

time

for Roby to get his bike.

2

It is

best

for you to take a becak.

Usage

The to infinitive used as modifier of noun or adjective can have its own subject. The subject indicates the actor of the action expressed by the to- infinitive. The subject comes before the to- infinitive and is introduced by for. (See sentences in the above frame).

In sentence 1, ‘Roby’ is the subject of ‘to get his bike*. ‘Roby’ is the person who gets the bike.

In sentence 2, ‘you’ is the person who takes a ‘becak’.


D. Other Forms of the To- infinitive.

The to- infinitive can have:

1. -ing form : to + be + -ing form of verb.

2. Perfect form : to + have + 3rd form of verb.

3. Passive form : to + be + 3rd form of verb.

Examples:

(1) You seem to be thinking about something.

(2) She seemed to have hurt herself.

(3) The church is thought to be built a hundred years ago.

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